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How can you let your father go when you have to decide the timing yourself?  In the summer of 2018, Andreas Schäfer's father comes to Berlin for a visit. Shortly before, he has learned that a cancer he overcame long ago has returned, but he has no complaints. He goes to the opera, takes a trip to the seaside, sits on his son's sofa and says in amazement, "That there is something!" But what? What is there in the father's head?

Volksbühne
Volksbühne © visitBerlin, Foto Max Threlfall

He goes back to Frankfurt, where he has lived alone since separating from his Greek mother decades ago. He also goes to the biopsy alone, as if he wanted to give up his lone wolf life only at the last possible moment. On the day of the examination, the senior neurosurgeon reports to the son and informs him that his father has suffered a brain hemorrhage: "Your father is going to die," he says. "He's in an induced coma. It's up to you to decide when we turn off the machines."

How to cope when the life of your own father is placed in your hands? How to say goodbye when it's up to you to decide the timing? My Father's Shoes is as harrowing as it is heartfelt, a book about fathers and sons and the unexpected ways of grief. Sincerely, poetically and empathetically, Andreas Schäfer tells of his own state of shock - but above all he approaches the father, the passionate traveler, the war traumatized, happy and lost at the same time, and their special, not always easy relationship.

A book about parting, mourning, the relationship to one's own father and his influence on one's own life and actions, touching, sincere, and poetically told. "Andreas Schäfer is the master of the subtle. He varies until we realize that we have long been dealing with something that points beyond the space of the novel: right into life." WDR 5


ANDREAS SCHÄFER, born in Hamburg in 1969, grew up near Frankfurt/Main and now lives as a writer and journalist with his family in Berlin. To date, he has published the novels Auf dem Weg nach Messara (On the Way to Messara), for which he received the Bremen Literature Promotion Prize, Wir vier (DuMont 2010), which was nominated for the German Book Prize and awarded the Anna Seghers Prize, Gesichter (DuMont 2013), and most recently the Spiegel bestseller Das Gartenzimmer (DuMont 2020).

(Program in German)
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Volksbühne - Roter Salon