Anselm Oelze: Wallace

Nominated for the lit.COLOGNE Debut Prize

Anselm Oelze


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.

Rights sold

Italy – Ponte alle Grazie
audio book – Der Audio Verlag
paperback – Random House / btb

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»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

»An exciting search for clues in the world of explorers, full of imaginative storytelling.«
Ute Büsing, Radio Berlin-Brandenburg

»Thrilling, funny and amazingly well-written!«

»Oelze's writing is vivid, colorful and eloquent.«
Katharina Granzin, Frankfurter Rundschau

»A lively portrait of Wallace’s life.«
Andrej Klahn, Deutschlandfunk
»An entertaining approach to evolution.«
Ellen Pomikalko, BuchMarkt

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

More titles by Anselm Oelze

Anselm Oelze: The Borders of Happiness. A Journey to the Edge of EuropeAnselm Oelze: Pandora