Thomas Hettche

The Love of the Fathers

Die Liebe der Väter

The Love of the Fathers

Longlisted for the German Book Prize 2010
Solothurn Literature Prize 2015
Wolfgang Koeppen Prize for Literature 2016

Peter has a daughter, but does not have custody rights. Annika was just two years old when he and her mother separated. Since then every parental meeting has degenerated into a bitter power struggle for Annika. A New Year’s vacation on the island of Sylt becomes a test of love between the father and the 13-year-old daughter.

For the travelling salesman Peter, visiting the island marks a return to the landscape of his past. It was here that he spent the summers of his childhood when his mother worked in a bookshop. The walks along the beach, the old church and the lighthouse all rekindle memories. For the first time, he attempts to reveal something of his past to his daughter and realizes how fragile the relationship to her is. He becomes painfully aware of the fact that she is turning from child into young woman without really knowing her. He meets Susanne, an old flame from his school days, now married and the mother of two children and is confronted with the classic family constellation he himself never had. As he celebrates New Year’s Eve in the company of his friends and daughter, Peter is faced with the sudden realisation that his whole existence is at stake and he is about to make the biggest mistake of his life and drive his daughter away from him.

This poignant story of a father fighting for the love of his daughter is Thomas Hettche´s most personal novel to date. With consummate mastery, he weaves the atmosphere of the wintry island of Sylt into a family drama which explores its protagonists’ past, their personal integrity and the prospects of a common future.



ISBN: 978-3-462-04187-3
release: 19. August 2010
224 pages, gebunden mit SU


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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 Koep-pen Prize for Literature, the Wilhelm Raabe Prize, the Solothurn Literature Prize and the Bavarian Book Award, among other distinctions.

Further titles by the author:
Ludwig muß sterben
Der Fall Arbogast
Woraus wir gemacht sind
Fahrtenbuch 1993–2007
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