“Raphaela Edelbauer’s impressive debut novel is a subtle allegory of historical memory and collective guilt, combining a dreamy, gothic strangeness …”—The Guardian
“A village that officially does not exist and that seems to be disappearing more and more … Anyone who embarks on this trip is safely guided by Edelbauer—on a fine line between madness and adventure.”—Christina Risken, Buchhandlung Krüger
A town that doesn’t want to be found. A countess who rules over the memories of an entire community. A hole in the earth that threatens to drag them all into its depths.
When her parents die in a car accident, the highly talented physicist Ruth Schwarz is confronted with an almost intractable problem. Her parents’ will calls for them to be buried in their childhood home—but for strangers, Gross-Einland is a village that remains stubbornly hidden from view.
When Ruth finally finds her way there, she makes a disturbing discovery: beneath the town lies a vast cavern that seems to exert a strange control over the lives of the villagers. There are hidden clues about the hole everywhere, but nobody wants to talk about it—not even when it becomes clear that the stability of the entire town is in jeopardy. Is this silence controlled by the charming countess who rules the community? And what role does Ruth’s family history, a history she is only just beginning to uncover, have to play?
The more questions Ruth asks, the more vehement the resistance she encounters from the residents. But as she continues to dig deeper, she comes to realize that the key to deciphering the mysterious codes of the people of Gross-Einland can only lie in the history of the hole.
In the literary tradition of Thomas Bernhard and Elfriede Jelinek, Raphaela Edelbauer weaves the complexities of small-town social structures into an opaque dream fabric that is frighteningly true to life, and in the process she turns us towards the abject horror that lies beneath repressed memory. The Liquid Land is a dangerous novel, at once glittering nightmare and dark reality, from an extraordinary new literary voice.
“Ably translated from the German by Jen Calleja, Raphaela Edelbauer’s impressive debut novel is a subtle allegory of historical memory and collective guilt, combining a dreamy, gothic strangeness with whimsical humor and an element of farce … The novel’s deft blend of registers—at once uncannily foreboding and drily comic—makes for an absorbing and memorable tale.”
Houman Barekat, The Guardian
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“The Liquid Land was a fun and fascinating read … This is a quirky tale that is sure to please readers of contemporary fiction looking for something a little different, since it combines family drama with mystery/investigation and a touch of magical realism.”
Nicki J. Markus/Asta Idonea, author of Fire Up My Heart and Northern Lights