Roland Schimmelpfennig

Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

Trade paperback - 210x138 - 240pp - 05/04/2019 - £12.99 - 9780857057013


One clear, ice-cold January morning shortly after dawn, a wolf crosses the border between Poland and Germany. His trail leads all the way to Berlin, connecting the lives of disparate individuals whose paths intersect and diverge.

On an icy motorway eighty kilometres outside the city, a fuel tanker jack-knifes and explodes. The lone wolf is glimpsed on the hard shoulder and photographed by Tomasz, a Polish construction worker who cannot survive in Germany without his girlfriend. Elisabeth and Micha run away through the snow from their home village, crossing the wolf's tracks on their way to the city. A woman burns her mother's diaries on a Berlin balcony. And Elisabeth's father, a famous sculptor, observes the vast skeleton of a whale in his studio and asks: What am I doing here? And why?

Experiences and encounters flicker past with a raw, visual power, like frames in a black and white film. Those who catch sight of the wolf see their own lives reflected, and find themselves searching for a different path in a cold time. This first novel of Germany's most celebrated contemporary playwright is written in prose of tremendous power and precision.


The world as seen by Schimmelpfennig is uncomfortable and cold, but in the hearts of his protagonists glimmer the flames of longing, passion and solidarity
— Martin Halter, Berliner Zeitung
A powerful novel of extraordinary momentum and contemporaneity - its looping narrative is both gripping and unsettling
— Björn Hayer, Spiegel
A moving book that delicately and expertly captures a prevailing atmosphere - of disorientation and bleakness in society, and of unexpressed feelings
— Carsten Hueck, Deutschland Radiokultur
As cool and incisive as its title suggests
— Dirk Knipphalz, TAZ
Schimmelpfennig’s world is uncomfortable and cold; but in the hearts of his character glow the flames of longing, passion and solidarity
— Martin Halter, Berliner Zeitung
mpeElise Williams