Publisher: Black & White Publishing
Available in ebook and paperback (16 April 2020)
ABOUT THE BOOK
The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the city is gearing up for a celebration of unity and liberation. But, beneath the surface, are those for whom the divisions and allegiances of the past remain close to home. In her hushed and leafy corner of Berlin, Nina’s life is a comfortable, conventional one– until her younger sister Marie, a free-spirited writer, is attacked and left for dead. For Nina, Marie’s brutal demise – and that of her unborn child – tips her own carefully controlled life into a nightmare.
Stonewalled by official incompetence and subterfuge, Nina begins to realise that her sister’s past and the secrets of the once-divided city are connected in unimaginable ways. As she seeks out justice for Marie, Nina becomes caught in a tangle of obsessions, lies and hidden truths that threatens to destroy her marriage, her livelihood and all that she holds dear.
My thanks to Kelly of Love Tours Group for the invitation to take part in the tour. This was one that appealed to me straight away and I’m only sorry that I wasn’t able to fit in a review in time for the tour. I do however have a few extracts to share.
1. “It’s late September and the warm weather has turned the city inside out. On every pavement, every street corner, people sit in sunglasses or baseball caps, faces turned greedily towards the sun, ashtrays and Eiskaffees and frothy-topped beers on the tables beside them. Public parks abound with naked toddlers and overexcited dogs and Nordic walkers and multi-generation Turkish families cooking over aluminium barbecues – all desperate to relish as much outdoor life as they can before the cold, dark winter sweeps into Berlin.”
2. “Like most Berliners, Nina was asleep in bed when the Wall fell, and missed history happening on her doorstep. She was twelve at the time; old enough to remember the almost provincial cosiness of life in West Berlin – a small, vulnerable half-city living under the threat of Soviet attack, protected by its overbearing Western bodyguards – but young enough to navigate the upheaval of the Wende and move forward freely, unencumbered by the past. Perhaps this is the problem, she thinks for the second time today, perhaps the city is always changing too fast, adding layer upon layer, not one washed clean before another is placed on top, leaving the lower layers to rot and ferment, unmarked by memory.”
3. “What she doesn’t tell him is that Marie was terrified of the ordinary, the mundane, of being sucked into mediocrity and disappearing without a trace. She didn’t watch TV, she didn’t do small talk, she dropped in for dinner, uninvited […] She thrived on acts of defiance, on challenge, hurtling headlong towards god-knows-what as long as she could feel herself moving, anything not to stop and stagnate. This is why she loved Berlin, a city that changes itself constantly, at vertiginous, anarchic speed; a place that’s always becoming, and never being.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).