The poignant, searching, haunting story of one family's entanglement with twentieth-century history AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER Katja Petrowskaja's family story is inextricably entangled with the history of twentieth-century Europe. There is her great-uncle, who shot a German diplomat in Moscow in 1932 and was sentenced to death. There is her Ukrainian grandfather, who disappeared during World War II and reappeared forty years later. And there is her great-grandmother - whose name may or may not have been Esther - who was too old and frail to leave Kiev when the Jews there were rounded up, and was killed by a Nazi outside her house. Taking the reader from Berlin to Warsaw, to Moscow, to Kiev, from Google searches, strange encounters and coincidences to archives, anecdotes and jokes, Katja Petrowskaja undertakes a journey in search of her own place in past and present, memory and history, languages and countries. The result is Maybe Esther - a singular, haunting, unforgettable work of literature.
`Rarely is research into family history this exciting, this moving. If this were a novel it would seem exaggerated and unbelievable. This is great literature' Der Spiegel `Modern German literature is richer for this intelligent, flamboyant and extremely original voice' Die Zeit `Katja Petrowskaja's family now have a home: this book. She ties today with yesterday and draws it all together to be carried over into the future as the literature of tomorrow' Frankfurter Rundschau
Katja Petrowskaja was born in Kiev in 1970, to a Russian-speaking family. She studied literature in Tartu, Estonia and then completed her PhD in Moscow. She has lived in Berlin since 1999. She won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2013 and wrote her bestselling first book Maybe Esther, in German. It was published in 2014 and was awarded the Premio Strega Europeo Prize, the Aalen Town Schubart Literary Prize, the Ernst Toller Prize and the Aspekte Literature Prize. It was a Spiegel bestseller and has been translated into nineteen languages.