‘By turns beguiling and unsettling, Flotsam examines grief and loss through the eyes of an extraordinary child’ Rachel Seiffert
Trine and her mother live in a cottage on the German coast. The mudflats that surround them disappear and reappear with the North Sea tides. The family leads a lonely existence, but each person has adapted in their own way. Anna roams the beaches collecting flotsam and jetsam to make art, while Trine loves playing on a wartime shipwreck. That is, until she loses her brother.
In her taut style, Meike Ziervogel tells a coming-of-age story from 1950s Germany – a place still haunted by war. A place where people pretend not to notice the ghosts.
‘By turns beguiling and unsettling, Flotsam examines grief and loss through the eyes of an extraordinary child.’ —Rachel Seiffert
‘Ziervogel grew up in Germany and this taut, mysterious novel not only conjures female subjectivities and grief, but it also paints a haunting portrait of the country in the 1950s Germany, with its greater sense of loss, and the looming spectre of crimes committed during the war.’ —Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
‘The writing has a dark and haunting quality yet there is much beauty in its concise construction. The story ebbs and flows with the ghosts of the past and the effects of the isolated location. Both Trine and Anna show a resolve that can be unsettling, beguiling – perhaps because young women are not expected to behave as they do. An astute and arresting tale…’ —Jackie Law, neverimitate
‘This is not an easy book to write about without muffling the small shocks and perplexities which readers should experience for themselves. Told first from Trine’s perspective then Anna’s, it’s the briefest of novellas yet it provokes more thought than many books three times its length. Written in often lyrical yet spare, clean prose, Flotsam is haunted by grief, leaving much for readers to deduce for themselves.’ —A Life in Books
‘★★★★★ If you’ve read Ziervogel before you will be aware of her ability to tell a dark, haunting story of loss and grief in mesmerising prose. Flotsam excels in this regard, it depicts the cruel way a separation is inflicted upon the living and the stories we tell ourselves to survive. Flotsam looks at the psyche of the nation, the greyness of the post war world as the country attempts to modernise and leave the past behind. Heart breaking and thought provoking, this elegiac and insightful novella is poignant, timely and deeply intelligent.’ —Paul Burke, NB Magazine
‘Anna’s experience of World War Two and the consequences of an event in the War, dominates her daughter’s life. Flotsam asks how will the next generation live in the shadow of such destruction, when so much of that history is left silent? Wonderfully concise yet powerful, Flotsam seems simple while offering a layered intelligence that should be valued.’ —James Doyle, Bookmunch
‘Haunting originality and real flair.’ —Christena Appleyard, The Daily Mail
‘Ziervogel goes bravely to the bleakest points of humanity and illuminates them with her lyrical and enthralling prose.’ —Claire Kohda Hazelton, The Guardian
‘Ziervogel shines a humanising light into the dark spots of her country’s history.’ —Lucy Ash, Observer