1,000 Coils of Fear by Olivia Wenzel, translated by Priscilla Layne
A multilayered and witty debut novel about the life of a Black German woman living in Berlin and New York during the chaos of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, who fights to belong without losing her identity.
On sale July 5, 2022 • ISBN: 9781646220502
A young woman attends a play about the fall of the Berlin Wall—and realizes she is the only Black person in the audience.
She and her boyfriend hang out by a lake outside Berlin—and four neo-Nazis show up.
In New York, she has sex with a stranger on the night of the 2016 presidential election—and wakes up to panicked texts from her friends in Germany about Donald Trump’s unlikely victory.
Engaging in a witty Q&A with herself—or is it her alter ego?—she takes stock of our rapidly changing times, and tells the story of her family: Her mother, a punk in former East Germany who never found the freedom she dreamed of. Her Angolan father, who returned to his home country shortly after she was born to start a second family. Her grandmother, whose life of obedience to party principles brought her prosperity and security but not happiness. And her twin brother, died at the age of nineteen.
Heartrending, opinionated, and wry, Olivia Wenzel’s remarkable debut novel is a clear-sighted and polyphonic investigation into what it really means to belong and what price wanting to belong can exact.
OLIVIA WENZEL was born in Weimar, Germany, and now lives in Berlin. Her dramatic works have been staged in Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin. Wenzel also works as a musician and a performer. In 2022, she will lead a series of multidisciplinary workshops for young adults of color at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.
PRISCILLA LAYNE is Associate Professor of German and Adjunct Associate Professor of African, African American and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research and teaching draws on postcolonial studies, gender studies, and critical race theory to address topics like representations of Blackness in literature and film, rebellion, and the concept of the Other in science fiction/fantasy. In addition to her work on representations of Blackness in German culture, she has also published essays on Turkish German culture, translation, punk, and film. She is the author of White Rebels in Black: German Appropriation of African American Culture, and her current book project is on Afro-German Afrofuturism.