While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer

While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer

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Rico, Mark, Paul and Daniel were 13 when the Berlin Wall fell in autumn 1989. Growing up in Leipzig at the time of reunification, they dream of a better life somewhere beyond the brewery quarter. Every night they roam the streets, partying, rioting, running away from their fears, their parents and the future, fighting to exist, killing time. They drink, steal cars, feel wrecked, play it cool, longing for real love and true freedom. Startlingly raw and deeply moving, While We Were Dreaming is the extraordinary debut novel by one of Germany’s most ambitious writers, full of passion, hope and despair.


‘The cumulative power of [the] well-constructed, pitiless and unflinching dispatches from the underbelly of society is remarkable…. Historical events often pass unnoticed by those living through them, unaware even of how much their lives have been changed. It is Meyer’s achievement to capture the profound effects those events had on the lives of those at the bottom of German society.’— Sunday Times

‘The narrative nips back and forth between the group on the cusp of adolescence, and when they are in and out of prison and rehab, or worse. What some of them were like as children is cleverly saved for much later, once we know who they become…While We Were Dreaming which was longlisted for the International Booker Prize, has the strengths of a good first novel: a vivid sense of place and detail; a focus on voice, rendered wonderfully in Katy Derbyshire’s translation.’—Financial Times

‘Katy Derbyshire’s virtuoso performance does justice to every nuance and colloquialism of Meyer’s precipitous and stylish vortex of a novel.’— Times Literary Statement

Paperback with French flaps
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions
ISBN: 978-1804270288
Pages: 528