This is the moving story of a brother and a sister caught in the tide of the Cold War. Kathe is a Jewish sculptor living in East Berlin. A survivor of the Nazi era, she is a fervent socialist who has been using her political connections to secure more significant commissions. Devoted entirely to success, she is a cruel and abrasive mother to her children. Kathe barely acknowledges Ella's vulnerable loneliness and Thomas' quiet aspirations, and her hard-nosed brutality forces her children to build an imaginary world as a shelter from the coldness that surrounds them. But the siblings find themselves enclosed by the Berlin Wall, and unable to pursue their dreams. Heartbreaking and shocking, Back to Back is a dark fairytale of East Germany - a moving personal story of love, betrayal and disillusionment within a single family that reflects the greater tragedy of the world around them.
The moving story of a brother and a sister caught in the tide of the Cold War
Independent Foreign Fiction Award 2014.
"Franck is an outstanding talent of the Germany literary landscape" Stuttgarter Zeitung "A novel that, with its hypnotic language, creates its own realm of relevance... You dive back into the real world in shock" Tages Anzeiger "A virtuoso creator of poetically charged moods...never before has East Germany been so radically depicted as dead at birth as in the arresting, magical narrative web of Julia Franck" Literarische Welt "Like an expert geologist, Franck is digging deep into her family's extraordinary history creating things of beauty from its dark recesses. Diamond-hard and full of glittering prose, Back to Back is a powerful and moving book. I suspect there are more gems to come" -- David Annand Sunday Telegraph "Franck convincingly articulates cruelty and loss... The final product is a curious fusion of stark realism tempered with quirkily stylistic flights of fancy: the trademark of one of Germany's finest contemporary novelists" -- Malcolm Forbes Literary Review
Julia Franck was born in Berlin in 1970. Her novel The Blind Side of the Heart won the German Book Prize and sold over a million copies in Germany alone. It was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize, and was named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian and US magazine Kirkus Reviews. Back to Back is her second novel to be translated into English. She lives in Berlin.