Maike Wetzel: Elly

Robert Gernhardt Prize
Martha Saalfeld Prize

Maike Wetzel

fiction, new title

152pp (25,000 words)

>> Robert Gernhardt Prize

>> For readers of Leila Slimani’s Lullaby and Ian McEwan’s A Child in Time

Elly is missing. One day the eleven-year-old vanishes from her family home without a trace, and everything changes. Her parents and older sister, Ines, try to persevere despite their loss, but Elly remains ever-present in their thoughts and deeds – and in their sense of guilt. Their search is never-ending, and each of them creates their own substitute for the missing girl.

Then, four years later, Elly suddenly reappears. Her parents are overjoyed, yet at the same time plagued by creeping doubts. What do you do when your own child has become a stranger you barely recognise? Is it truly Elly who has returned, or is she an interloper?

ELLY is the powerful and deeply moving portrait of a family turned upside down, a family whose longing for a missing child overwhelms and distorts reality. With virtuoso skill, Maike Wetzel toys with the limits of perception and explores how we construct identity and how we look at our loved ones.


»ELLY is a book about the dark side of longing.«
Hubert Spiegel, Speech at the Robert Gernhardt Prize

What Booksellers say

»Reading this will make your heart beat faster. A captivating story of a family which lures the reader into uncertainty, showing how the desire for a loved one can change reality. A slim book which contains a hefty story.«
Mechthild Heinen (Buchhandlung Lehmkuhl, Munich)

»This novel is a real surprise, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions. Told from multiple points of view, the story continually opens up new perspectives. The reader has to rethink their view of events every time the perspective changes.«
Karin Senft (Bücher Pustet, Regensburg)