The Wish Child

A Novel

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9781640092679 | Paperback 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 384 pages Buy it Now

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9781640090989 | Ebook | 384 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

This internationally bestselling historical novel that “fans of The Book Thief will enjoy” follows two children and a mysterious narrator as they navigate the falsehoods and wreckage of WWII Germany (Publishers Weekly).

Germany, 1939. As Germany’s hope for a glorious future begins to collapse, two children, Sieglinde and Erich, find temporary refuge in an abandoned theater amid the rubble of Berlin. Outside, white bedsheets hang from windows; all over the city, people are talking of surrender. The days Sieglinde and Erich spend together will shape the rest of their lives.

Watching over them is the wish child, the enigmatic narrator of their story. He sees what they see, he feels what they feel, yet his is a voice that comes from deep inside the ruins of a nation’s dream.

Winner of the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Awards

“A remarkable book with a stunningly original twist.” —The Times (London)

About the Author

Praise For This Book

Winner of the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

“Telling a story of Nazi families in Hitler’s Germany without romanticizing atrocity, reenacting monstrosity, or sentimentalizing barbarity is a high–wire act, and Chidgey more than keeps her balance. She has given us a gorgeous book that speaks powerfully of things that cannot be said . . . In its disquieting meditation on fact and fiction, Chidgey has written a beautiful, unsettling narrative that reflects who we are now as much as who we were then.”
—Maggie Trapp, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Fans of The Book Thief will be drawn to Catherine Chidgey’s haunting WWII novel, which is told from the perspective of a similarly unusual and omniscient narrator—though we won't spoil who . . . While The Wish Child fits squarely into historical fiction, its clever, multi–layered format distinguishes itself from the genre pack.”
Refinery29, One of the Best Books of October

“Chidgey's understated and poetic revelations of the banalities of day–to–day life under siege, as the German war effort fails, communicate the corrosive horrors of war . . . Chidgey's controlled revelation of the identity of her shadowy narrator gradually illuminates the true horrors endured by the rest of the characters in this devastating work.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Fiction based on fact can bring to life a place and time as no mere history can—in this case, Germany from 1939 to 1997, concentrating on the war years . . . This beautifully written, vivid picture of one of the darkest times in human history, already an international best–seller, also may serve as a cautionary tale for today.”
Booklist (starred review)

“The contrast of voices provides a detailed portrait of Siggi and Erich’s fractured lives. Fans of The Book Thief will enjoy Chidgey’s delicate and elegant novel.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is an absorbing story, intelligent and literary.”
Historical Novel Society

“A remarkable book with a stunningly original twist.”
The Times (London)

“Catherine Chidgey’s The Wish Child subtly examines territory unusual for a New Zealand writer with this original exploration of the edges of a much–written–about historic time. Exposing and celebrating the power of words—so dangerous they must be cut out or shredded, so magical they can be wondered at and conjured with—Chidgey also exposes the fragility and strength of humanity. Elegantly written, there is an innerness to the book’s narrative which gives it authenticity and even authority. The fey, mysterious voice of the Wish Child, and the very human voices and activities of the book’s other children, are compelling and memorable. You’ll be caught by surprise with its plumbing of depths and sudden moments of grace, beauty and light.”
—Judge's Report, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

“You breathe the beauty of this writing so deep it seems like you've called it up from within yourself . . . the final revelation unveils a historical stain that leaves you reeling.”
Waikato Times

“An incredible piece of writing . . . takes us inside the minds of the children and their families with such tenderness, humanity and psychological astuteness that it creates an understanding of why they loved and followed Hitler.”
New Zealand Listener