Thomas Hettche

Peacock Island


Peacock Island

Wilhelm Raabe Literature Prize 2014 / Bavarian Book Prize 2014
Solothurn Literature Prize 2015 / Shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2014
Wolfgang Koeppen Prize for Literature 2016
#8 on SPIEGEL Besteller list in September 2014
#2 on SWR List of Best Books in October 2014
Recommended for translation by New Books in German
Sample translation by Anthea Bell available

Like a modern fairytale the novel begins with a chance encounter between a dwarf and a queen on a seemingly enchanted island. A mere eight weeks after this encounter on Peacock Island, on 19 July 1810, the young Queen Luise dies – and Christian and his sister Marie, both of short stature, must live with the memory of the queen’s horrified exclamation: “Monster!”

The Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) in the Havel is an artificial paradise. In his opulent, knowledgeable and touching novel, Thomas Hettche tells the story of its blossoming, maturity and decline from the perspective of the petite châtelaine Marie, whose life mirrors a condensed history of an entire century. She grows up between the wars of liberation and restoration, between palm house and menagerie, landscape art and philosophical discussions, and the royal family she assists.

Thomas Hettche tells of the order of nature, the dignity of man, the nature of time and the sensibility of the soul and the body by focusing on the design of this “Prussian Arcadia” by landscape artist Lenné. In rich and sensual language, he evokes palm trees, kangaroos and lions, court gardeners, princes, South Sea islanders, giants and dwarves.Through his historically established characters, Thomas Hettche also talks about us, living in the here and now, and of love and its many manifestations.



ISBN: 978-3-462-04599-4
release: 21. August 2014
352 pages, Leinen


19,99 €
0,00 sFr
20,60 €

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sample translation

About the Author

Since his 1989 debut Ludwig muß sterben (“Ludwig Must Die”), the novelist Thomas Hettche has been a frequently polarizing and always surprising literary voice in Germany. For his work he was awarded the Rauriser Literature Prize, the Robert WalserPrize, the Ernst Robert Curtius Sponsorship Prize for Essays, the Rome Prize of Villa Massimo, the Premio Grinzane Cavour, the Wolfgang Koeppen Prize for Literature, the Wilhelm Raabe Prize, the Solothurn Literature Prize and the Bavarian Book Award, among other distinctions. His bestseller “Pfaueninsel” sold more than 130,000 copies.

Further titles by the author:
Ludwig muß sterben
Der Fall Arbogast
Woraus wir gemacht sind
Fahrtenbuch 1993–2007
Die Liebe der Väter
Unsere leeren Herzen