We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

1000 Coils of Fear

The German Book Prize, 2020

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780349701998

Price: £16.99

Select a format:

Hardcover

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘I have more privilege than any person in my family. And I’m still screwed.’ From award-winning author Olivia Wenzel comes a captivating and unsettling literary debut about race, politics, feminism, motherhood, nationality and enduring love.

A young woman attends a play about the Berlin Wall coming down and is the only Black person in the audience.

She is sitting with her boyfriend by a bathing lake and four neo-Nazis show up.

In New York, she witnesses Trump’s election victory in a strange hotel room and later awakes to panicked messages from friends.

Engaging in a witty question and answer with herself, the narrator looks at our rapidly changing times and tells the story of her family: her mother, who was a punk in East Germany and never had the freedom she dreamed of and her absent Angolan father. But in the background of everything is the memory of her twin brother, who died when they were nineteen.

Emotional and funny, Olivia Wenzel writes about loneliness and finding joy in life within the roles that society assigns you. 1000 Coils of Fear is a highly original novel both powerfully poetic and full of surprises.

‘So exuberant, inventive, brainy, sensitive and hilarious that it’s like a pyrotechnic flare illuminating the whole woman, past and present, radiant, unique, a voice and a novel to take with us into the future.’
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Monkey Boy

Bold and exceptional . . . Her impressive writing, born of a brilliant mind, surprises – stylistically, and by its frankness and associations . . . I rode in the passenger seat, beside the beauty and strangeness of 1000 Coils of Fear.
LYNNE TILLMAN, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare

‘An audacious and disturbing novel.’
MICHELLE DE KRETSER, author of Scary Monsters

‘An exciting, confident debut.’ Publishers Weekly

Impressive, relentless, tender.’ Faz

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

Reviews

A debut novel as layered and melodic as any symphony or opera.
Karla Strand, Ms Magazine
Wenzel's unique literary voice carries the reader through meditations on origins, grief, racial identity, love, and belonging.
Booklist
An audacious and disturbing novel
MICHELLE DE KRETSER, author of Scary Monsters
This book is a must
Reader review
A strong debut, a touching family story
rbb Kultur
Wenzel debuts with a powerful portrait of a woman finding, losing, and rediscovering herself in 21st-century Germany . . . Her simple but affecting story is told through scattered memories and personal histories . . Captivating . . . An exciting, confident debut
Publishers Weekly
Impressive, relentless, tender
FAZ
German musician, performer, and playwright Wenzel makes an auspicious fiction debut . . . A prismatic novel, thoughtful and unsettling
Kirkus Reviews
So exuberant, inventive, brainy, sensitive and hilarious that it's like a pyrotechnic flare illuminating the whole woman, past and present, radiant, unique, a voice and a novel to take with us into the future.
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Monkey Boy
Bold and exceptional . . . Her impressive writing, born of a brilliant mind, surprises - stylistically, and by its frankness and associations. An uncompromising consciousness leaps from sentence to sentence, city to city, in love, depressed, alienated, afraid, and contradictory . . . I rode in the passenger seat, beside the beauty and strangeness of 1000 Coils of Fear
LYNNE TILLMAN, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare