Hero Wieland is a failed father whose five grown-up children feel no connection with their siblings. Nele, the ‘invisible’ middle child, doesn’t even show up at her brother’s wedding. But it is Nele who instinctively knows what to do when her father is diagnosed with cancer. Alone in accepting his unusual approach to death, she slowly gains Hero’s respect.
Shortly before he is admitted to hospital, Hero passes Nele a mysterious cardboard box, refusing to reveal what’s inside. Her instructs her to distribute its contents to her mother and sibling, but not before his death…
Drawing on the father-daughter constellation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, Root Leeb has created an affecting tale of solitude, friendship and love that asks what it means to live, and die, in a family.
ROOT LEEB was born in Germany in 1955. After two years working as a teacher, and six as a tram driver in Munich, she has been a writer, painter and illustrator of books since 1991.
ROBERT E. GOODWIN is a member of faculty at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and translator of Rüdiger Safranski’s Romanticism: A German Affair.