Author(s): Sophie Hardach
Set in Berlin during the dying days of communism, this is an exploration of a family cruelly torn apart, and the consequences that seep through generations.
Tobi and Ella's childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery. Now adults living in London, their past in full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family's daring and terrifying attempt to escape, which ended in tragedy; but the fall-out from that single event remains elusive. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? What happened to Heiko, their little brother? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses?
In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for the archive, making his way through old files, piecing together the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye; and soon unravelling the secrets at its heart becomes an obsession. When Ella is left a stash of notebooks by her mother, and she and Tobi embark on a search that will take them back to Berlin, her fate clashes with Aaron's, and together they piece together the details of Ella's past... and a family destroyed.
Devastating and beautifully written, funny and life-affirming, Confession with Blue Horses explores intimate family life and its strength in the most difficult of circumstances.
This Costa short-listed novel is an ambitious work by a young writer. Looking at the divide in Germany through a family living in Berlin, Hardach manages to tell a new story using two timelines and writing fully fleshed-out characters. Not just for history buffs, anyone will find a character or storyline of which they can relate.
Elisa, Book Grocer