About Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat
Kasper Mützenmacher keeps a divine “wishing hat”—a thought-operated teleportation device—locked in the wall safe of his Berlin hat shop. According to an old prophecy, after Kasper’s Greek ancestor stole the wishing hat from Hermes, Fate cursed his progeny to sell hats, on pain of mayhem or death. Kasper, however, doesn’t mind making hats, and he loves Berlin’s cabaret scene even more. But his carefree life of jazz and booze comes to a screeching halt when he must use the wishing hat to rescue his flapper girlfriend Isana from the shadowy Klaus, a veil-wearing Nazi who brainwashes his victims until they can’t see their own faces.
Isana and Kasper’s happiness proves fleeting. Years after her mysterious death, Kasper struggles as a lonely, single father of two until he meets Rosamund Lux, recently released from a political prison where Klaus took her face. Kasper soon suspects that Rosamund is no ordinary woman. According to the prophecy, certain Lux women descend from the water nymph Daphne, who, during Olympian times, transformed into a laurel tree to avoid Apollo’s sexual advances; they, too, suffer from an intergenerational curse connected to Hermes’ stolen hat. As Kasper falls deeper in love, Rosamund’s mental health deteriorates. She has nightmares and delusions about Klaus, and warns that he will launch a night of terror once he’s collected enough faces.
Kasper dismisses the growing Nazi threat until the government reclassifies him as a Jew in 1938. His plan to emigrate unravels when anti-Jewish riots erupt and the Nazis start loading Jews on boxcars to Dachau. Then Rosamund goes missing, and Klaus steals the wishing hat, the family’s only means of escape.
Kasper, however, will face his most difficult battle in America. He must convince his wayward son and indifferent grandson to break the curse that has trapped the family in the hat business for sixteen centuries. Their lives will depend on it.
Book One of the Life Indigo series, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat is a fantastical family saga about tradition, faith, and identity, set during the Jazz Age, Nazi Germany, and the Detroit race riots of 1943. Comparable works include: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Everything Is Illuminated, and Underground Airlines.
Early Praise for Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat:
“This is an amazing debut novel—wildly imaginative, powerfully written, funny, and deeply humane. However mythic his characters—they include a Nazi interrogator with the power to make women incapable of seeing their own faces—Fentonmiller renders them fully and credibly. Equally impressive is his deft handling of a broad range of time and space—from Weimar Germany to sixties Detroit. This is a book not to be missed.”
—Terence Hawkins, author of American Neolithic (named one of the Best Indie Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews)
“Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat is highly creative and imaginative, brimming with invention, mythology, psychology, secrets, characters, generations, cleverness and wisdom. Incredible, overwhelming, compelling.”
—Catherine Bell, author of Rush of Shadows (winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House 2014 Fiction Prize)
Reviews for Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat
Berlin 1938: what a time to be alive. Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat is a stunning, surreal historical fantasy that glitters with color and character. Although wartime Germany is often depicted as dull and grey, this novel sparkles. Set in a Jewish community during Hitler’s rise to power, Cursed Hat is one part noir, one part slapstick, and one part high-octane adventure.
Nothing is as it seems in Cursed Hat. The only rule seems to be “expect the unexpected.” Author Keith R. Fentonmiller dashes headlong into the topsy-turvy world of 1930s Berlin. Instead of being populated by characters dressed in dull felt, [...]
My main association with the name Kasper is a cartoon that aired on television during my childhood called Casper The Friendly Ghost. I had a talking Casper doll who told me reassuringly "I'm a friendly ghost. Don't be afraid of me." (For more information see the Casper The Friendly Ghost Wiki) Fentonmiller's Kasper is neither a ghost nor particularly friendly. He always had to protect the family secret of the cursed hat, and he also lived under Hitler for a period. These circumstances didn't incline him to let very many people into his life. [...]
Weaving a thread of the fantastical through the very real history of prejudice in mid-twentieth century Europe and America, Fentonmiller provides a compelling insight into some of the ways facing cruelty can turn a person cruel without allowing hope to be overwhelmed by the bleakness of concentration camps and race riots.
Kasper Mützenmacher owns a small hat shop in 1930’s Berlin. And a teleporting hat that his family stole from the Greek god, Hermes, and are prophesied to bear until they fulfil an obscure prophecy. Making hats by day and listening to jazz by night, Kasper hasn’t taken the wishing hat [...]
This is a well-woven tale, which mixes history and myth in a moving yet tension filled way.
Kasper is a hat maker living in Germany right before WWII and although he has friends opposing the building Hitler movement, he himself tries to stay out of trouble. But Kasper harbors secrets. His family is cursed thanks to a magical hat his ancestor stole from Hermes, one which teleports him to any place he wants. He refuses to use it until the Nazis arrest his girlfriend and allow a man who removes women's faces to torture her.
There are so many clashing elements in [...]