You Would Have Missed Me

Birgit Vanderbeke


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Peirene Press Ltd
1 June 2019
ISBN: 9781908670526
154 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Jamie Bulloch

‘I can’t remember what it was like being born, but from what they used to tell me it seemed almost as if everything had been fine up to that point.’

Standing in her family’s two-bedroom flat in the Promised Land, a little girl realizes that once again she won’t be getting a cat for her birthday. She’s been wanting one ever since she was five – all the way back to when they were living in the refugee camp. In the East, her Grandma made cakes and kept rabbits; now there is no baking, no pets and certainly no Grandma. West Germany in the early 1960s is a difficult place for a seven-year-old East German refugee, particularly when no one will listen to you.

Runner up of the 2020 Schlegel-Tieck Prize. Jamie Bulloch’s translation of Birgit Vanderbeke’s novel The Mussel Feast won the 2014 Schlegel-Tieck Prize and was shortlisted for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.