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The Blindness of the Heart

An international best seller and winner of the German Book Prize, The Blindness of the Heart is a dark marvel of a novel by one of Europe’s freshest young voices—a family story spanning two world wars and several generations in a German family. In the devastating opening scene, a woman named Helene stands with her seven-year-old son in a provincial German railway station in 1945, amid the chaos of civilians fleeing west. Having survived with him through the horror and deprivation of the war years, she abandons him on the station platform and never returns.

The story quickly circles back to rural Germany and Helene’s childhood, which came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of the First World War. Her father is sent to the eastern front, and her Jewish mother withdraws from the hostility of her surroundings into a state of mental confusion. As we follow Helene into adulthood, we watch riveted as the costs of survival and ill-fated love turn her into a woman capable of the unforgiveable.

Important places

Bautzen (2)
Szczecin (4)


West Pomeranian (9)
Sachsen (143)
Berlin (904)


Germany (3,818)
Poland (895)