Sabine Peters’ novel transports the reader to autumn in southern Europe, broaching the burning questions of our contemporary world in way that is almost casual, and yet profound.
Two artists in the primal landscape of Portugal: Marie flies from Hamburg to visit Lino, who returned from Germany years ago to live in her original home in the small mountain village of Feital. They have been friends for a long time, and now their husbands are no longer with them.
The two friends stroll through olive groves and clamber around in abandoned farmsteads, watching dogs, cats, goats and lizards, speak of their memories, of art and nature, of the search for the right word. Stones fall from the sky, or are transformed into birds. The rocks throw up waves, the spiders cast their nets.
Artists, plumbers and an ophthalmologist appear, the neighbour’s donkey gives out rusty cries, and Lino’s studio becomes a place of remembrance for her and her guests. Over a feast of roast wild boar, sweet chestnuts and a harvest of mushrooms, they speak of their parents, their husbands, the large country family and the course of life with all of its issues, both large and small. The centenarian aunt Celina is a cause for concern, a rhinoceros beetle provides food for thought.
Sabine Peters has written a novel about female friendship, about a close bond that has existed over decades. In her precise descriptions of a rural sanctuary, the precision of her narrative leads us to the great, existential questions of our time.
Sabine Peters, born in 1961, studied literary studies, political science and philosophy in Hamburg. After spending several years in Rheiderland, she moved back to Hamburg in 2004. As well as novels, stories and radio plays, Sabine Peters also writes essays and critiques. Prizes include the Ernst Willner Prize at the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition, the Clemens Brentano Prize, the Evangelical Book Prize and the Georg-K. Glaser Prize. She received the Italo Svevo Prize in 2016.