Norman Ohler

The Equation of Life

Die Gleichung des Lebens

The Equation of Life

English sample translation by Jamie Bulloch available
Recommended for translation by New Books in German
Website Norman Ohler

A captivating historical novel about a lost paradise and the triumph of modernity

Summer 1747. Friedrich II wants to transform the impassable Oderbruch marshland, home to recalcitrant and independent Wendish fishermen, into farmland and settle refugees there to work the land. Where a staggering variety of species of fish, turtles and waterfowl still live, and life goes its way as it has for hundreds of years, the king want cows to graze and potatoes to grow. The mathematical genius Leonhard Euler is called on to perform the necessary calculations for the draining of the wetlands. But when the king’s engineer is murdered and Euler takes on the investigation, he suddenly finds that he himself is a target. It is the period before the great St.-John’s-day flooding, which will inundate the marshy grounds as it has since time immemorial. Great anxiety reigns among the fishermen, who fear that the end of their world is nigh. Euler gets bogged down in this Prussian Amazon, which, though doomed to extinction, is fighting tooth and nail to defend itself. The only thing that can save his life now is his encounter with Oda, the daughter of the leader of the Wends.

An outstandingly well-researched, richly atmospheric novel with a prodigious variety of characters and moods: Against the backdrop of the 18th century, Ohler paints a tableau around the themes of repression, fear of the unknown and colonization that seems to reflect our present.


ISBN: 978-3-462-04968-8
release: 07. September 2017
416 pages, gebunden mit SU


22,00 €
0,00 sFr
22,70 €

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sample translation

About the Author

Norman Ohler, born in 1970, attended the Hamburg school of journalism, studied cultural studies and philosophy and has been a freelance writer since 1993. His debut Die Quotenmaschine was published in 1995 as the world’s first online novel. Other novels include Mitte and Stadt des Goldes. Ohler has been writer-in-residence in Ramallah, has written screenplays (with Wim Wenders and Dennis Hopper, among others) and is the recipient of numerous awards and grants. His first non-fiction book, Der totale Rausch. Drogen im Dritten Reich (“Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany”) has been acclaimed by the media and academia and was published in 26 countries. The English translation was #15 of the New York Times bestseller list. The renowned historian and biographer of Hitler, Ian Kershaw, wrote: “Very good and extremely interesting... a serious piece of scholarship, very well researched.”

Further titles by the author:
Der totale Rausch