Maike Wetzel: Elly

Robert Gernhardt Prize
Martha Saalfeld Prize

Maike Wetzel

fiction, new

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.

Rights sold

English World - Scribe
Finland - Like

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

»In few yet incredibly precise words, Maike Wetzel creates an oppressive tension around a family falling apart. A book that will not let you go.«
Brigitte Woman

»Reminiscent of Ian McEwan’s A Child in Time, ELLY will have wide appeal. (...) Maike Wetzel’s fresh, original take on the popular literary theme of missing children is
delivered in her clear, understated prose with its unflinching eye for detail.«
New Books in German

»Wetzel tells the story of the loss of a child as a family drama from various perspectives, in permanent present tense.«
Christoph Schröder, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»An elaborate mosaic about the unrelenting belif in a happy ending.«

»A highly focused and accurate novel about that which is not supposed to happen.»
Judith von Sternburg, Frankfurter Rundschau Online

»Breathtaking. An intense, abysmal study of the trauma of abandonment and uncertainty.«
Hansruedi Kugler, Luzerner Zeitung

»Wetzel's powerful narrative style reminds of Judith Hermann, who does not waste a word, but uses unusual imagery to create atmospheres that express the unconscious, the inexpressible, the outrageous.«
Volksdorfer Zeitung

»Maike Wetzel mercilessly writes about overwhelming pain and its destructive power.«
Hans von Trotha, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»Psychologically refined, linguistically brilliant.«
Sylvia Schwab, Hessischer Rundfunk (hr2 Kultur)

»Wetzel's literature gets right to the core of human existence. (…) How she conveys primal fears and their consequences is captivating and unsettling. Her laconic, unruffled style is in contrast to the inner life of her protagonists. (…) This book fits only too well in a time when assumed certainties and principles are shattered.«
Michael Au, Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk (SWR 2 Lesenswert)

»The perfect book for those moments when you forget the world around you.«
Lydia Herms, Deutschlandfunk Nova

»So haunting and touching, so captivating and intense that you cannot resist it.«
Andrea Heußinger, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR Kultur)

»An enigmatic study, a polyphonic monologue.«
Cornelia Zetzsche, Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR 2)

»A fascinating narrative revolving around the question whose story is being told – and to whom stories actually belong.«
Bettina Hesse, WDR 5 Bücher

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)

» A shimmering literary creation.«
Susanne Schaber, Die Presse/Spectrum

More titles by Maike Wetzel

Maike Wetzel: Distant BelovedMaike Wetzel: Floating Bridges