A gripping, atmospheric novel about obsession and love. 'Little by little, Elsa leaked out of her enclosure, strayed out into every corner of the house . . . In my bed at night, she switched places with me, she enjoying the softness of my bed, and I finding myself cramped up in her airless niche.' This extraordinary novel is seen through the eyes of Johannes. An avid member of the Hitler Youth in the 1940s, he discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl called Elsa behind a false wall in their large house in Vienna. His initial horror turns to interest, then love and obsession. After the disappearance of his parents, Johannes finds he is the only one aware of Elsa's existence in the house, the only one responsible for her survival. Both manipulating and manipulated, Johannes dreads the end of the war: with it will come the prospect of losing Elsa and their relationship, which ranges through passion and obsession, dependence and indifference, love and hate. This gripping, masterful work examines truth and lies at both political and personal levels, laying bare the darkest corners of the human soul.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Adolf Hitler arms asked Austrian Baldur von Schirach bathroom believe bird bird skeleton breath Bvlgari caught centimetre closed door Dr Gregor ears Edelweiss Pirates Elsa Elsa's eyes face father feel feet felt fingers floor Floridsdorf Frau Schmitt gave Godmum gone grandmother hair hand head hear heard heart Herr Betzler Hitler Hitler Youth Hoefle imagined inside Jews Johannes keep Kippi kiss knees knew leave legs live looked Madeleine Mariahilfer Mauthausen mind morning mother mouth moved neck needed never night nose once Ottakring painting parents Petra picked Pimbo Pimmi Pimmichen pulled realised remember she'd side sleep smile someone stay step stopped talk tell thought told took truth turned upstairs Vienna violin Volkssturm waiting walked wall watched Wernher von Braun who'd window woman words would've