The Shadow-Boxing Woman (The German List) (Paperback)
In The Shadow-Boxing Woman, a novel from German writer Inka Parei, a decaying apartment building in post-Wall Berlin is home to Hell, a young woman with a passion for martial arts. When Hell’s neighbor disappears she sets out across the city in search of the woman. In the course of her quest, she falls in love with a bank robber, confronts her own dark memories, and ends up saving more than just her missing neighbor.
What is on the surface a crime novel is actually a haunting dual portrait of a city and a woman caught up in times of change and transition. This debut novel in English combines Parei’s tight prose with a compulsive delight in detail that dynamically evokes many lost and overlooked corners of Berlin.
Inka Parei was born in Frankfurt and moved to Berlin in 1987, where she studied German literature and Chinese studies. She now lives in Prenzlauer Berg with her son, writing and tutoring emerging literary talents. She is also the author of Was Dunkelheit war. Katy Derbyshire is a Berlin-based translator from London.
‘The plot is intriguing; it is even blackly funny.”—Economist, on the German edition
“Parei has written a wonderfully cruel metropolitan novel.”—Der Spiegel, on the German edition
— Der Spiegel
“A brilliant achievement!”—Süddeutsche Zeitung, on the German edition
— Süddeutsche Zeitung
“Reminiscent of the work of Samuel Beckett and Gunter Grass, Parei invests desolation with beauty, attacks nasty physical confrontations without fear of showing blood and lovingly describes budding romance fraught with anxiety. Fragmenting the tale of Hell's quest into short intense chapters, she sketches a disrupted Berlin. . . . Living among the ruins, yet not giving in—that is what Inka Parei addresses unblinkingly in this ambitious novel.”
— Shelf Awareness