1000 Coils of Fear

Olivia Wenzel


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24 August 2023
ISBN: 9780349702001
288 pages

From the publisher

'I have more privilege than any person in my family. And I'm still screwed.' From award-winning author Olivia Wenzel comes a captivating and unsettling literary debut about race, politics, feminism, motherhood, nationality and enduring love.

A young woman attends a play about the Berlin Wall coming down and is the only Black person in the audience.

She is sitting with her boyfriend by a bathing lake and four neo-Nazis show up.

In New York, she witnesses Trump's election victory in a strange hotel room and later awakes to panicked messages from friends.

Engaging in a witty question and answer with herself, the narrator looks at our rapidly changing times and tells the story of her family: her mother, who was a punk in East Germany and never had the freedom she dreamed of and her absent Angolan father. But in the background of everything is the memory of her twin brother, who died when they were nineteen.

Emotional and funny, Olivia Wenzel writes about loneliness and finding joy in life within the roles that society assigns you. 1000 Coils of Fear is a highly original novel both powerfully poetic and full of surprises.

'So exuberant, inventive, brainy, sensitive and hilarious that it's like a pyrotechnic flare illuminating the whole woman, past and present, radiant, unique, a voice and a novel to take with us into the future.'
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Monkey Boy

'Bold and exceptional . . . Her impressive writing, born of a brilliant mind, surprises - stylistically, and by its frankness and associations . . . I rode in the passenger seat, beside the beauty and strangeness of 1000 Coils of Fear.'
LYNNE TILLMAN, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare

'An audacious and disturbing novel.'
MICHELLE DE KRETSER, author of Scary Monsters

'An exciting, confident debut.' Publishers Weekly

'Impressive, relentless, tender.' Faz