ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- This was an unexpectedly charming and delightful novel to come across - sorry if I'm stereotyping, no offence meant, but German literature doesn't make me think of 'sweetness and light', so it is reassuring to be proved wrong in this instance! Luisa lives in a tiny village, with one best friend who she knows she will marry when they grow up, her distant father and preoccupied mother and her adored grandmother Selma, plus an assortment of idiosyncratic characters, including the optician who can link any two words together and has an undeclared and unrequited passion for Selma, and Alaska, a very big and troublesome dog. Whenever Selma dreams of an okapi, someone in the village will die within a day, so when she dreams of the jungle beast for a fourth time, everyone is on tenterhooks. And when it comes to pass that someone does die, then the life of everyone in the village is changed - some people let go, and some people hold on - but as the years pass, has everyone made the right choice? This book seems flawlessly translated and is beautifully rendered. In turns it is bittersweet, compassionate and surprisingly funny and you can see why it's been an international bestseller! I loved it. Lindy
'Manages something only a few books achieve: it makes you happy' Munich Mercury
Voted the Independent Booksellers' Favorite Novel of the year in Germany
On a beautiful spring day, a small village in Western Germany wakes up to an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi. Someone is about to die. But who?
As the residents of the village begin acting strangely (despite protestations that they are not superstitious), Selma's granddaughter Luise looks on as the imminent threat brings long carried secrets to the surface. And when death comes, it comes in a way none of them could have predicted...
A story about the absurdity of life and death, a bittersweet portrait of village life and the wider world that beckons beyond, What You Can See from Here is a story about the way loss and love shape not just a person, but a community.
The international bestseller which sold over 600,000 copies in Germany
Mariana Leky lives in Berlin. She began her career as a bookseller, and has published award winning novels before What You Can See from Here, an international bestseller which has been published in 14 territories. Tess Lewis is an award-winning translator who has been awarded grants from PEN USA and UK. She is Co-chair of the PEN Translation Committee and Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review.
I loved this novel truly, madly, deeply ... I am jealous of all the new readers who will have the chance to discover Mariana Leky's exciting new voice and the joy of meeting the fabulous ensemble she has conjured -- Nina George, author of THE BOOK OF DREAMS and THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP As in life, What You Can See from Here reveals its significant players and their startling joys and losses, in patient, unexpected ways. A profound and beautiful novel -- Marie Helene-Bertino, author of PARAKEET Effervescent, tender and realistically absurd - an utterly charming depiction of life, death, love, and the people who help us through it all. Exactly the kind of novel I am ever hoping to discover -- Juliet Grames, author of THE SEVEN OR EIGHT DEATHS OF STELLA FORTUNA On finishing What You Can See from Here, I was bereft. Central to the story is the idea of how much of the world to let into our lives, how much each of us can actually manage. Well, I implore you to let this book into your life. It's a wonder you won't forget -- Jessica Francis Kane, author of RULES FOR VISITING Manages something only a few books achieve: it makes you happy * MUENCHENER MERKUR * A gorgeous novel about life, love, death and hope * Style * A little of the magic of Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- Denis Scheck * Hot Off the Press * Full of wise, warm-hearted thoughts on the difficult subject of death and loss. A book to get you through dark days -- Volker Koenigkramer * Stern * One of those books you gaze at in amazement for hours and days after reading it - and actually, always want to carry with you -- Barbara Weitzel * Welt Am Sonntag * A wonderful, clever, amusing, profound book -- Manuela Reichart * Deutschlandfunk Kultur * On each page there are at least three sentences that you want to highlight, copy or read to someone -- Judith Liere * Stern *