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Head of Zeus
Confession with Blue Horses
13 Jun 2019 * EBOOK * £4.49 * 9781788548755

Set in Berlin during the dying days of communism, this is an exploration of a family cruelly torn apart, and the consequences of war seeping through generations.

Fiction / FA (Fiction)
Extent: 352 pages
Exclusive sale: GB AU NZ IN ZA SG
Not for sale: CA US
Confession with Blue HorsesSophie Hardach

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2019.

Tobi and Ella's childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery. Now adults living in London, their past is full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family's daring and terrifying attempt to escape. But what happened next? Where did their parents disappear to, and why? What happened to Heiko, their little brother? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses?

In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for a Stasi archive, making his way through old files, reconstructing the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye; and soon unravelling the secrets at its heart becomes an obsession.

When Ella finds a stash of her mother's notebooks, she and Tobi embark on a search that will take them back to Berlin. Her fate clashes with Aaron's, and they piece together the details of Ella's past... and a family torn apart.

Devastating and beautifully written, funny and life-affirming, Confession with Blue Horses explores intimate family life and its strength in the most difficult of circumstances.

Sophie Hardach is the author of three novels, The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages, about Kurdish refugees; Of Love and Other Wars, about pacifists during World War Two; and Confession with Blue Horses, about the consequences of war that seep through generations. Confession with Blue Horses was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize 2019. Also a journalist, she worked as a correspondent for Reuters news agency in Tokyo, Paris and Milan and has written for a number of publications including the Atlantic, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. Sophie Hardach is currently working on a non-fiction book, Languages Are Good For Us, which Head of Zeus will publish in Autumn 2020.

MARKET: Kate Atkinson; Helen Dunmore; All the Light We Cannot See; The Book Thief; Stasiland; The Lives of Others.


'The sheer beauty of Confession with Blue Horses lies in Sophie Hardach's deft hand at creating an atmospheric and page-turning story of lives built and destroyed in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Incredibly moving, and in parts, devastating, but always beaming with hope. An exquisite, memorable novel', Kate Mayfield, author of The Parentations

'A powerful story of East and West Germany and the devastating impact of political division on a family's life. Sophie Hardach writes with intelligence, humour and compassion about the resilience of the human spirit and the ties that bind us. Gripping and beautifully written', Sophia Tobin

'Hardach's wise and unsentimental novel presents a nuanced picture of East Germany. Hardach is excellent on telling details: there is a tender scene towards the end of the book when Ella visits a McDonald's in West Germany after the fall of the wall, and tries not to be disappointed by the gherkin in the burger. Highly recommended', The Times

'A tragic family drama, a gripping mystery and a rich history of the impact of a divided country. Sophie Hardach portrays both the political upheavals and personal dramas with subtle poignancy and a sharp eye for detail. Her characters are richly layered and bristle with charm; and she evokes Berlin, both past and present, with all the vibrant colour that a city with such history deserves. Living, as we do, in such politically fractured times, it's a story of truth and reconciliation that packs a very timely punch', Jason Hewitt

'A tale of family secrets and betrayals, shortlisted for the Costa novel award', The Times

'Thought-provoking ... An absorbing slow burn of a book that not only casts light on Germany's recent history but depicts, with careful tenderness, a family simultaneously torn apart by ideology and bound by powerful ties of love', Guardian

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