A woman approaching the ‘invisible years’ of middle age abandons her failing writing career to retrain as a chiropodist in the suburb of Marzahn, once the GDR’s largest prefabricated housing estate, on the outskirts of Berlin. From her intimate vantage point at the foot of the clinic chair, she keenly observes her clients and co-workers, delving into their personal histories with all their quirks and vulnerabilities. Each story stands alone as a beautifully crafted vignette, told with humour and poignancy; together they form a nuanced and tender portrait of a community.
Part memoir, part collective history, Katja Oskamp’s love letter to the inhabitants of Marzahn is a stunning reflection on life’s progression and our ability to forge connections in the unlikeliest of places.
Translated by Jo Heinrich.
LONGLISTED FOR DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD 2023.