Winner of the Virginia Prize for Fiction
Nominated for Scottish First Book of the Year Award, Saltire Society
Adapted as a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime
The year is 1985. East Germany is in the grip of communism. Magda, a brilliant but disillusioned young linguist, is desperate to flee to the West. When a black market deal brings her into contact with Robert, a young Scot studying at Leipzig University, she sees a way to realise her escape plans. But as Robert falls in love with her, he stumbles into a complex world of shifting half-truths — one that will undo them both.
Many years later, long after the Berlin Wall has been torn down, Robert returns to Leipzig in search of answers. Can he track down the elusive Magda?
And will the past give up its secrets?
“A tense, compelling peek behind the Berlin Wall.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“A gripping, complex debut” --Zoë Strachan
“Will resonate loud and clear with anyone conscious of the dangers of CCTV culture in modern Britain” --Rodge Glass
“Kept me hooked right to the end” --Linda Leatherbarrow
“a page-turner that reminds one of the horrors of the cold war and the astonishing fall of the Berlin Wall.” --Margaret Drabble
“…a page-turner that shifts from East to West and the dark days of the 1980s to present reunification.” --The Evening Times
“Rintoul pulls the reader through her story with craft and psychological precision…" -- The Scotsman
About the author
Fiona Rintoul is a writer and translator based in Glasgow in Scotland. She writes fiction and articles, and translates from German and French into English. Fiona’s poems and short stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines, including Mslexia and Gutter, and she is a past winner of the Gillian Purvis New Writing Award and the Sceptre Prize.