Why did Joseph never speak to his daughter? In this novel, the author returns to her roots and explores some details of the critical events preceding her mother’s birth as a “brat.” Unclear circumstances accompanied the mother’s conception, and these caused Helfer’s grandfather to ignore his daughter throughout her life completely. The author reconstructs the fate of her grandparents, Joseph and the beautiful Maria, as they live through harsh times during the First World War when she and her children live as outsiders at the edge of the village. As Joseph is drafted into the army, Maria and the children are left behind and become dependent on the village mayor’s protection. Then a charming stranger, Georg, comes to the area and one day, uninvited, knocks on Maria’s door.
Published by Prostor, 2022
The Austrian writer Monika Helfer (* 1947) is the author of short stories, novels, plays, and children’s books, for which she has received many literary awards. The most recent, the Schubart Literary Prize, was awarded in 2021 for her novel The Bagage, which is the first part of a loose trilogy in which the author recounts her family’s history. Monika Helfer is married to the writer Michael Köhlmeier, with whom she cooperates in her works.