A much-anticipated debut from a remarkable new talent in Irish fiction—a terrifyingly intimate story of a war marriage caught up in the horror of World War II.
In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern Front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katherina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises “honeymoon” leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin, and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them.
When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katherina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katherina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katherina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.
Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.