Synopses & Reviews
is the winner of the 2006 German Book Prize for best novel and was praised by the jury for having confronted our age's most pressing issues: "Her protagonists are in their thirties, they know it all but know nothing of themselves. . . . Their questions are our questions."
In one of three interweaving storylines, Jakob and Isabelle move to London, where Jakob will fill the post of a colleague killed in the World Trade Center attack. But their relationship, like the world they once knew and the happiness they once shared, becomes more fragile with each passing day.
"Hacker (Morpheus; The Lifeguard) entwines the lives of three unusual households in post-9/11 suburban London. Isabelle and Jakob are 30-something German newlyweds who move to Britain after Jakob takes the job of a colleague killed on 9/11. Jakob is an attorney and Isabelle is an artist and wanderer, and their relationship, built hastily in the aftermath of 9/11 (Jakob was at the Trade Center on September 10 for business, and he met Isabelle the next day back in Germany; his colleague stayed behind in New York), has trouble reaching equilibrium. Next door lives Sara, a young girl with developmental problems who is abused by her parents and finds comfort in her cat, Polly. Meanwhile, Jim, a gruff drug dealer squatting in a house down the block, has taken a fancy to Isabelle, who reminds him of his missing girlfriend. Hacker plumbs the dark psyches of her characters their capacities for violence, their desires and uncertainties and their guilt and shame as Sara's home life worsens, eventually involving the neighbors. Hacker's prose, aided by Atkins's pristine translation, soars, particularly in her treatment of city and bourgeois life, and though her characters sometimes act inexplicably, she admirably explores modern urban life from the unsettled haves to the desperate have-nots." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Katharina Hacker's previous books, Morpheus (2003) and The Lifeguard (2000), have earned her a reputation as one of the most discerning and elegant stylists in contemporary German literature. Born in 1967 in Frankfurt, she has lived in Berlin since 1996.