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The Girl Who Wasn't There by Ferdinand von Schirach
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A clever murder mystery where we follow the life of a very controversial German photographic artist who creates complex, shocking images, some based on known artists’ work. The first section, Green (all sections are divided into colours) starts gently with lots of detail about his work. It changes gear when the murder is revealed (Red) and turns into a tense courtroom drama for Blue. White gives us the Epilogue. Extraordinary. He is the author of a stunning short thriller, The Collini Case, which is a must read.

If you like Ferdinand von Schirach you might also like to read books by Rachel Seiffert, Bernhard Schlink and Pat Barker.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Sebastian von Eschburg sees the world in vivid colour, and, while he finds it difficult to communicate with people on an ordinary level, his acclaimed works of art prove to be worth a thousand words, as his provocative and unsettling photographs and installations take the Berlin art world by storm. When a young woman goes missing and Sebastian stands accused of her murder, he finds it difficult to explain himself, and hires experienced lawyer Konrad Biegler to defend him. Traumatised by his neglected childhood and haunted by the image of his father gutting a deer, Sebastian is not an easy client to like, and Konrad soon realises that the case is more complicated than he could ever have imagined. Beautifully written and translated, this is a dark, disturbing and gripping mystery, a fascinating character study, and a meditation on the nature of truth and the power of the law.
~ Susie Cogan

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Synopsis

The Girl Who Wasn't There by Ferdinand von Schirach

Sebastian von Eschburg, scion of a wealthy, self-destructive family, survived his disastrous childhood to become a celebrated if controversial artist. He casts a provocative shadow over the Berlin scene; his disturbing photographs and installations show that truth and reality are two distinct things. When Sebastian is accused of murdering a young woman and the police investigation takes a sinister turn, seasoned lawyer Konrad Biegler agrees to represent him - and hopes to help himself in the process. But Biegler soon learns that nothing about the case, or the suspect, is what it appears.

Reviews

A slim, elegant book, icily disturbing in Anthea Bell's translation * Independent * This is an effective riddle of a novel. Details accumulate, tensions build and misdirection abounds, while Anthea Bell's crisp translation accentuates von Schirach's cool, pointillist prose . . . Perhaps the only secure verdict the novel delivers is that its author is one of the most distinctive voices in European fiction * Daily Telegraph * This centaur of a story, half-study of the alienated artist with a traumatic past and half-portrait of the lawyer as cantankerous philosopher of truth, may baffle or frustrate crime buffs. Other readers will enjoy its free and quizzical approach to genre expectations - and the swift, clean, enigmatic prose that Anthea Bell translates with her flawless grace -- Boyd Tonkin * Independent * Ferdinand von Schirach's prose is elegant and unemotional . . . gripping and the story is intriguing and often disturbing -- Marcel Berlins * The Times * Ferdinand von Schirach is one of Europe's most celebrated crime authors . . . Well worth reading . . . This is a sophisticated novel about a man whose emotional detachment is as chilly as it is destructive -- Joan Smith * Sunday Times * Written in a beautifully understated style that matches his protagonists
detached and rather abstract view of life

. . . It's an examination of the disconnection between truth and reality that is tantalising and disturbing in equal measure -- Laura Wilson * Guardian * We have, in Von Schirach's ice-cool, effortlessly classy prose, an antihero accused of murder, who sees the world in too-vivid colour, and his bumptious defence lawyer, who sees everything in shades of grey. It makes for a disconcerting mix of build-up and anticlimax, tension and humour, lies and truth, and a novel as intriguingly eccentric as its protagonist * Observer *


About the Author

Ferdinand von Schirach was born in Munich in 1964. Today he works in Berlin and is one of Germany's most prominent defence lawyers. His short story collections Crime and Guilt and novels The Collini Case and The Girl Who Wasn't There were instant bestsellers in Germany, and his work has been translated into over thirty languages. Film adaptations of his stories are under way.

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Book Info

Publication date

25th June 2015

Author

Ferdinand von Schirach

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Author's Website

www.schirach.de/
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Publisher

Abacus an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group

Format

Paperback
224 pages

Categories

Thriller / Suspense
Crime / Mystery
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780349140469

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