Eva Menasse




English Sample translation and plot description available
Recommended for translation by New Books in German (Spring 2013)

»We always confuse our own viewpoints with those of others.«

What do we really know about ourselves? And about others? When the book starts, Xane Molin is 14 years old and experiencing a dramatic summer with her best friend. By the end, she’s a grandmother making one last attempt to change the course of what remains of her life’s journey.

By telling each chapter from a different perspective, Eva Menasse dissects the biography of a woman in her many roles, depicting her as a mother and daughter, as a friend, tenant and patient, as a fleeting acquaintance and an unfaithful wife. Menasse has an unerring eye for women in society, for their human weaknesses and their loveable qualities. Refracted through many different lenses, the novel paints a picture of a woman’s life and of the society she lives in.

The title is borrowed from the natural sciences: There are not only crystals with a clear symmetrical structure, but also some that are fractured and seemingly irregular. The same is true of life’s journey: It is intricate, difficult to predict and only recognizable in its entirety from a distance.

A bold, poetic, funny and disturbing novel that casually raises questions about perception and reality.

sample translation

About the Author

Eva Menasse was born in 1970 in Vienna and began her career as a journalist. She now lives and works in Berlin as a publicist and writer. Her debut novel Vienna won the Corine Award for Best Debut and its English translation was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Her short story collection Lässliche Todsünden (2009, “Venial Sins”) also achieved great success among critics and readers. She was awarded the Gerty Spies Prize, the Alpha Literature Prize, and the Heinrich Böll Prize of the city of Cologne for her novel Quasikristalle (2013, “Quasicrystals”). In 2015, her essay collection Lieber aufgeregt als abgeklärt was published, she was a fellow of the Villa Massimo in Rome and won the Jonathan Swift Award for satire and humor for her work. Other awards include the Friedrich Hölderlin Prize in 2017 and the Ludwig Börne Award 2019 for her outstanding accomplishments in the field of essays, critique and reportage. Her latest work is the short story collection Tiere für Fortgeschrittene (2017) which was awarded the Austrian Book Prize 2017.