Anselm Oelze: Wallace

Nominated for the lit.COLOGNE Debut Prize

Anselm Oelze
Wallace

fiction, new

262pp (64,000 words)

>> Independent Bestseller List

Spring 1858. A letter leaves a small island in the Moluccas. Its destination: southern England. Its contents: an essay on the origin of species. Within a year, now printed and bound, it is causing a huge sensation the world over and becomes known as the theory of evolution. Yet it is not the letter’s author, the species collector Alfred Russel Wallace, who reaps the acclaim for this, but rather its recipient, the naturalist Charles Darwin.
Aside from his eponymous faunal boundary line in the Malayan archipelago and the longhorn beetle, Batocera wallacei, Wallace’s name is now little more than a footnote in the annals of natural history.

One hundred and fifty years later, the museum nightwatchman Albrecht Bromberg happens upon a book about the forgotten scientist’s fate. Fascinated, he delves into Wallace’s life and his expeditions to distant lands. With the assistance of Rosalie the librarian, he hatches a daring plan to make people sit up and take notice of the bearded scientist’s legacy again.

WALLACE is a literary memento to all those whom life and history have overlooked. This effortlessly entertaining tale of adventure and scientific endeavour, shot through with philosophical inquiry, transports the reader from Brazil to Indonesia via London and from there to a modern-day natural history museum in Germany.

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Reviews

»An enchanting novel on success and the little bit of luck it takes ... and how to give your luck a little boost if needed. (...) Oelze's well-versed book will take you on a dazzling fantasy ride.«
Dennis Scheck, Druckfrisch (TV)

»Anselm Oelze revitalises the genre of the adventure novel.«
International Literature Festival lit.COLOGNE

»While this is not the first fictional presentation of Wallace’s life (…), he remains a largely overlooked figure, and Anselm Oelze’s presentation of his life story and contribution to
science is innovative and appealing, weaving questions of fame and historical
recognition into a compelling narrative.«
New Books in German

»An exquisitely colorful novel.«
Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)

»An exciting search for clues in the world of explorers, full of imaginative storytelling.«
Ute Büsing, RBB Inforadio

»Thrilling, funny and amazingly well-written!«
kulturnews.de

»A lively portrait of Wallace’s life.«
Andrej Klahn, Deutschlandfunk
 
»Very rich, very colourful.«
Bianca Schwarz, NDR
 
»An entertaining approach to evolution.«
Ellen Pomikalko, BuchMarkt

»A pure pleasure to follow the author's vivid imagination.«
Jens-Uwe Somemerschuh, Sächsische Zeitung

»He makes history happen by telling a story. Eccentric, colourful, exciting.«
Markus Kranz, Dresdner Kulturmagazin

»A celebration of storytelling, for fans of Christian Kracht’s Imperium
Marius Müller, Augsburger Allgemeine

»A stylistically confident and exciting debut, with a tangible love of adventure.«
Tino Dallmann, mdr Kultur