The word that ten-year-old Josef Ambacher picks up sounds terrifying: Siberia. Adults use it for everything in the far, foreign East. That's where hundreds of thousands of German civilians - it's 1945 - are deported by the Soviet army, including Josef. Kazakhstan is the destination.
Once there, he finds himself in a harsh, but also wondrous, myth-filled world - and he learns to stand up to the steppe and its pretenses. Mühlheide, 1990: Josef Ambacher is confronted with his past when, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a wave of emigrants reaches the small town in Lower Saxony. His daughter Leila stands between worlds and must mediate - at a time when she herself is trying to understand and banish the haunting of history.
Sabrina Janesch tells the story of two childhoods, one in Central Asia after the Second World War, the other fifty years later in northern Germany, in a stirring manner and in bright colors. In doing so, she masterfully spans an arc that connects unknown, untold chapters of German-Russian history. A great novel about the search for home, the ghosts of the past and the love that is able to conquer them.
An event by Literatur LIVE in cooperation with Rowohlt Berlin Verlag and Thalia Buchhandlung.