A moving mother-daughter novel stretching across a century of European history
A model Nazi mother, who teaches others how to raise their children while refusing to speak of the great loss she has suffered; a cook travelling across Germany in the summer of 1945, who would rather make love women than to her employer; a girl in Munich, who was born in one of the notorious Lebensborn homes; a lawyer and single mother, who unexpectedly inherits a flat in Wrocław following her mother’s death, and discovers a hitherto unknown Polish branch of her family – these women are all bound together by a century of war and post-war life, flight, expulsion and violence. What does it mean to live in a state that breeds humans? And how do you write about what happens to women in wartime – the way their voices are taken from them, the way they are changed for ever, and the hidden forces that keep them going?
In “Changelings”, Ulrike Draesner gives these women their voices back as they reinvent themselves, change language and country, and discover within themselves an unsuspected wellspring of courage, humour and strength. As the meaning of “family” changes, new spaces open up. A devastating novel – moving, unsettling, tender and perceptive.