An Arc was sent to us by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of this book. Thank you to Quercus Books Publicity team for allowing us to read this and review it.
What if you were a parent and your child would be missing for thirteen years? What would you do? Would you give up hope? Or would you try to convince everyone around you that your child is still alive?
What if you were a child and all you knew of a family are the two parents that live with you? Would you find it odd that it is always only your mother that is still there? Would you ask yourself if you didn’t know anything else if your parents are happy? Or would you cling the normality you’ve been brought up with?
What if you were kidnapped and would be forced to live your life in a cabin? Would you try to escape even though you are locked inside, and there are no windows? What about the two children that are with you? If you managed to escape would you take them with you? Or would you leave them behind?
Dear Child by Romy Hausmann tackles these questions head-on. The story is masterfully structured with fragments of the story given at the right time and the right place. Throughout reading the book, I realised more and more just how brilliant Hausmann pieced together everything for me, the reader. It was like seeing a puzzle being built in front of my eyes. Clinging to every word that she had set on paper, trying to see underneath it, to make sure there were no clues buried underneath. Although this is Hausmann’s debut on the English market, this is her second novel, her debut being Marta schläft (trans. Marta sleeps).
Romy Hausmann’s writing will wrap you and pull you in a story that would leave you brathless and wondering until the very end.
Originally published in Germany and topping the charts, Dear Child is the perfect psychological thriller for new readers to the genre that are looking to see what a good and well-written novel can do. Still, it also pleases the readers that love the genre because it hits all the right notes.
Translated by Jamie Bulloch, I believe that credit needs to be given where credit is due. Bulloch captures perfectly the tone set by Hausmann and conveys it in English perfectly. Although the dialogue, to native English speakers, might sound off (or would require some adjusting to) I would remind them that the tonality and the structure are linked to it being a foreign book and needs to read as such.
I think—having studied German and living there—that Bulloch does amazingly and manages to make this translation make sense without sacrificing the german flair in which people would normally talk. This is noticeable, in my opinion in the way Matthias interacts with Gerd. Gerd being in the position of police officer there is an undertone of respect (even though Matthias disagrees strongly with the actions undertaken by the Police in the case of his missing daughter) when speaking with him.
But I digress. Dear Child is an instant favourite, which many will enjoy. The book is out with Quercus Books in the UK. Under normal circumstances, I would say that this book would be perfect for a holiday by the pool with the sun shining down on you. Still, regardless of where you are, Romy Hausmann’s writing will wrap you and pull you in a story that will leave you breathless and wondering until the very end.
I hope that Quercus will in the near future in translate Romy Hausmann’s debut novel, Marta schläft as well because I’m definitely in desperate need of more of her writing.