Translated from the original German by Jo Heinrich
A woman approaching the invisible years of middle age abandons her failing writing career to retrain as a chiropodist in the suburb of Marzahn, once the GDRs largest prefabricated housing estate, on the outskirts of Berlin. From her intimate vantage point at the foot of the clinic chair, she keenly observes her clients and co-workers, delving into their personal histories with all their quirks and vulnerabilities. Each story stands alone as a beautifully crafted vignette, told with humour and poignancy; together they form a nuanced and tender portrait of a community. Part memoir, part collective history, Katja Oskamps love letter to the inhabitants of Marzahn is a stunning reflection on lifes progression and our ability to forge connections in the unlikeliest of places.
About the Author/Translator:
Katja Oskamp was born in 1970 in Leipzig and grew up in Berlin. After completing her degree in theatre studies, she worked as a playwright at the Volkstheater Rostock and went on to study at the German Literature Institute. Her debut collection of stories, Halbschwimmer, was published in 2003. In 2007 she published her first novel, Die Staubfängerin. Marzahn, Mon Amour, published by Hanser with the subtitle ‘A Chiropodist’s Tales’, was selected for the ‘Berlin Reads One Book’ campaign and thus literally became the talk of the town. Marzahn, Mon Amour is her first work to be translated into English.
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. – Stadtbüchereien Düsseldorf, Germany
Nominating Library’s Comments:
It is a book that allows a deep insight into the daily lives of the so called ordinary people. The author treats each of them with respect and approaches with careful empathy.