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Marzahn, Mon Amour
by Katja Oskamp
WINNER OF THE DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD 2023.
As heard on BBC Radio 4 ‘Book at Bedtime’, August 2022
Shortlisted for The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation and the TA First Translation Prize.
Spiegel bestseller, selected for Berlin Reads One Book 2021. Over 180,000 copies sold worldwide.
A woman approaching the ‘invisible years’ of middle age abandons her failing writing career to retrain as a chiropodist in the East Berlin suburb of Marzahn, once the GDR’s largest prefabricated housing estate. From her intimate vantage point at the foot of the clinic chair, she observes her clients and co-workers, listening to their stories with empathy and curiosity.
Part memoir, part collective history, Katja Oskamp’s love letter to the inhabitants of Marzahn is a tender reflection on life’s progression and our ability to forge connections in the unlikeliest of places. Each person’s story stands alone as a beautifully crafted vignette, but together they form a portrait of a community.
Translated from the German by Jo Heinrich.
144pp, paperback with flaps, £12.00
Publication date: 17 February 2022
Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union
Press & Reviews
'Katja Oskamp knows how to capture the essence of people beautifully. They really come to life in her portraits. A powerful book.' - Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of Germany
'Every so often, you come across a novel whose simple, direct honesty knocks you sideways. There is an unaffected humility and generosity about Katja Oskamp’s Marzhan, Mon Amour that speaks to the value of community and to the dignity of ordinary lives.' - The Dublin Literary Award Judges, 2023
'This is a book full of charm and love, making substance from small stories.' - John Self, The Irish Times
'Delightful' - Ken Follett, bestselling author of The Pillars of the Earth, The Evening and the Morning and A Column of Fire
'It's rare to come across a book of such captivating warmth and humour. There is something magical at play in Marzahn, Mon Amour. I loved every page of it.' - Rónán Hession, author of Leonard and Hungry Paul and Panenka
'A real gem ... full of tough wit and resilience.' - Catherine Taylor, The Irish Times
'Charming' - Exberliner
'Warm and witty' -The Bookseller
'Oskamp is a curious observer and gleans intimate insights into the lives of the many who carried on as best they could when things got tough... Marzahn, Mon Amour captures a piece of modern history and brings it right down to the human level.' - Catherine Venner, World Literature Today
'Oskamp offers a rich reflection on the passage of time and the nature of community in a neighborhood that has long been invisible.' - Necessary Fiction
'Bereavement, suicide, addiction and disability are just some of the themes explored in this absorbingly intimate novella. From the humdrum to the dramatic, it offers a fascinating window into daily life and a touching tribute to Marzahn and its inhabitants.' - Becky Danks, European Literature Network
About The Book
Like the narrator in Marzahn, Mon Amour, Jo Heinrich found her ideal career in her middle years, and graduated in 2018 with a distinction in her MA in Translation from the University of Bristol. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Austrian Cultural Forum London Translation Prize and the 2019 John Dryden Translation Competition. She translates from French and German, and she lives just outside Bristol with her family. Marzahn, Mon Amour is her first literary translation.