'I have more privilege than any person in my family. And I'm still screwed.'
A young woman attends a play about the Berlin Wall coming down, and is the only Black person in the audience.
She is sitting with her boyfriend by a bathing lake, and four neo-Nazis show up.
She is having sex with a stranger in New York, and Donald Trump wins the US presidential election.
Engaging in a witty question and answer with herself, she takes stock of our rapidly changing times, sometimes angry, sometimes amused, sometimes afraid, and always passionate. And she tells the story of her family: Her mother, a punk in former East Germany who never had the freedom she dreamed of. Her Angolan father, who returned to his home country before she was born to start a second family. Her grandmother, whose life of obedience to party principles brought her prosperity and security but not happiness. And her twin brother, who took his own life at the age of nineteen.
The heart-rending, opinionated, and wry debut to get lost in this Christmas. Olivia Wenzel's remarkable novel is a clear-sighted investigation into origins and belonging, the roles society wants to force us into and why we need to resist them, and the freedoms and fears that being the odd one out brings.
'So exuberant, inventive, brainy, sensitive and hilarious that it's like a pyrotechnic flare illuminating the whole woman, past and present, radiant, unique, a voice and a novel to take with us into the future.'
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Monkey Boy
'Bold and exceptional . . . Her impressive writing, born of a brilliant mind, surprises - stylistically, and by its frankness and associations . . . I rode in the passenger seat, beside the beauty and strangeness of 1000 Coils of Fear.'
LYNNE TILLMAN, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare
'An audacious and disturbing novel.'
MICHELLE DE KRETSER, author of Scary Monsters
'An exciting, confident debut.' Publishers Weekly
'Impressive, relentless, tender.' Faz
So exuberant, inventive, brainy, sensitive and hilarious that it's like a pyrotechnic flare illuminating the whole woman, past and present, radiant, unique, a voice and a novel to take with us into the future. -- FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Monkey Boy
Bold and exceptional . . . Her impressive writing, born of a brilliant mind, surprises - stylistically, and by its frankness and associations. An uncompromising consciousness leaps from sentence to sentence, city to city, in love, depressed, alienated, afraid, and contradictory . . . I rode in the passenger seat, beside the beauty and strangeness of 1000 Coils of Fear -- LYNNE TILLMAN, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare
Wenzel debuts with a powerful portrait of a woman finding, losing, and rediscovering herself in 21st-century Germany . . . Her simple but affecting story is told through scattered memories and personal histories . . Captivating . . . An exciting, confident debut * Publishers Weekly *
An audacious and disturbing novel -- MICHELLE DE KRETSER, author of Scary Monsters
German musician, performer, and playwright Wenzel makes an auspicious fiction debut . . . A prismatic novel, thoughtful and unsettling * Kirkus Reviews *
Impressive, relentless, tender * FAZ *
A strong debut, a touching family story * rbb Kultur *
A debut novel as layered and melodic as any symphony or opera. -- Karla Strand * Ms Magazine *
Wenzel's unique literary voice carries the reader through meditations on origins, grief, racial identity, love, and belonging. * Booklist *
I was sucked in by Olivia's distinct style, biting yet swirling. In a bristling translation from Priscilla Layne, the cool, understated prose expresses so much of what goes unsaid about the weight of history, how you are perceived as you move through the world and the choices that come with deciding how you want to live. -- Tice Cin, author of KEEPING THE HOUSE
Wenzel writes with humour and emotion about loneliness and finding joy in life within the roles society assigns you * Bookseller *
Experimental in form, this is a demanding but absorbing novel on the themes of race, feminism, motherhood and love. * Daily Mail *
Personal, political and wildly experimental * Big Issue North *
Wenzel's nuanced thoughts about injustice, marginalisation and the checking of privilege are timely and important, and the dashes of surreal, undercutting humour ... are refreshing ... [An] elegant translation ... cohesive, considered, emotive -- Michael Donkor * Guardian *
- Long-listed for The German Book Prize 2020 (UK)
Dimensions: 236mm x 160mm x 30mm