Peirene No. 29

You Would Have Missed Me

Birgit Vanderbeke
  • Description

    Will be published in June 2019. Available May 2019 through our subscription service.

    By the author of Peirene’s bestseller The Mussel Feast. A family is torn apart by their dream of a better future in the West. A true story narrated through the eyes of a child.

    West Germany, early 1960s: A little girl arrives with her parents from East Germany in a camp for displaced people. The girl’s father is abusive, the mother ignores her. Soon she will celebrate her seventh birthday and all she wants is a cat. Instead she receives an illuminated globe. The girl can’t hide her disappointment – but then she discovers that the globe offers her a way to escape the misery of the camp.

    Why Peirene chose to publish this book:

    Today, as in the past, people flee from one country to another in the hope of finding a better future. But how do children experience such displacement? How do they cope with traumas of a refugee camp? In this novel Birgit Vanderbeke goes back to her own childhood in the divided Germany of the 1960s. She shows how the little girl she once was saved herself by imagining countries on the far side of the world. A masterpiece of memory turned into fiction.

    Written by Birgit Vanderbeke
    Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

    There Be Monsters series
    154pp, paperback with flaps, £12
    ISBN 978-1-908670-52-6
    eISBN 978-1-908670-53-3

  • Author

    One of Germany’s most successful authors, Birgit Vanderbeke was born in Dahme in 1956, and grew up in Frankfurt, when her family fled from East Germany to the West. She has won 5 prestigious literary awards, and written twenty-one novels. Peirene’s previous translation of her work, The Mussel Feast, won the the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for translation and was shortlisted for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

  • Translator

    Jamie Bulloch has worked as a professional translator from German since 2001. His works include books by Paulus Hochgatterer and Alissa Walser. Jamie has already translated a number of books for Peirene: Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, Sea of Ink, The Mussel Feast and The Empress and The Cake.

  • Press

    ‘Impressive and clever.’ Deutschlandfunk

    ‘A novel full of pain, humour and hope.’  WDR, Scala-Bücher