If you love long sentences and poetic language - this is your book. The author writes about love, loss, pain, family, and how people deal with their grief in a very touching way. The writing style is unique and completely different from others. Wonderful figures and a heartwarming plot let you dive into a story that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Have a box of tissues nearby, you will need them.

by Zsuzsa Bánk
Publisher Fischer TB on October Day, 2020
Genre Novel
Pages 111
Format Paperback
Source Fischer TB

Two friends run a café in Frankfurt am Main. It´s Christmas time, Advent. One is the mother of two children; she lost her husband years ago. Her friend Lilli became a mother at an early age and also has a difficult past. With a good gift of humor and wisdom, the two women master their everyday lives – as mothers, as friends, as businesswomen, and as house owners. Because some time before they bought a weekend house together in the Odenwald, still uninhabitable, the roof open, no windows. But again, and again the goal of their thoughts and dreams: Celebrate Christmas in this house one day, everyone together, that would be wonderful! But as busy as they are in their everyday life, it probably took an angel to take care of everything … A touching Christmas story of an intimate friendship, of letting go and accepting, of breaking up, and of moments when you have to grab life by your hand. Much seems possible this Advent, the time of strife is over, the night shines brightly, and the universe sends its greetings … (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary).
Clemen´s death comes out of the blue for his family and changes everything. How to tell the kids that Daddy isn´t coming back? How will they continue with the house that was supposed to become their new home? But the café gives them all a sense to carry on. And around the holidays it is the only place where Christmas decoration and the holiday atmosphere are real. And the one thing that helps them heal. 

The author writes very touchingly and empathetic about the loss of a loved one and the bereaved dealing with grief and daily life. The story is a single poetic rhythm that unfolds in long sentences. You read almost everything twice but in a different way. As if the author wants you to think about everything carefully. 

As I read a few pages, I could literally smell cinnamon, marzipan, and all the other spices that are used during Advent and Christmas. It was a delicious read and, in combination with the wonderfully created characters, a book that you can read around Christmas every year. 

The author leaves what the characters look like to your own imagination. You only learn that some had a difficult childhood while others know what it means to lead normal family lives. That brings the whole story down to the essentials. And is perfect for the book. But you can also see that for some the holiday season is not easy to endure. But that there is hope and that time will heal some of the wounds. The two women in this story deal with their past very differently, but in their present life, they are great together. 

If you are in for a touching and moving Christmas story with long poetical sentences, this could be your book. This is not a common novel but a wonderful one for sure. 

Happy reading

* This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer TB in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review. The title was, at the time this review was published, only available in the German language. 

Deutsche Rezension

Die Autorin schreibt sehr berührend und einfühlsam über den Verlust eines geliebten Menschen und wie die Hinterbliebenen mit der Trauer und dem täglichen Leben umgehen. Die Geschichte ist ein einziger poetischer Rhythmus, der sich in langen Sätzen entfaltet. Man liest fast alles zweimal, aber auf andere Weise. Als ob die Autorin möchte, dass man über alles sorgfältig nachdenkt. 

Während ich einige Seiten las, konnte ich buchstäblich Zimt, Marzipan und all die anderen Gewürze riechen, die man in der Adventszeit und über Weihnachten so verwendet. Es war eine köstliche Lektüre und in Kombination mit den wunderbar erschaffenen Figuren ein Buch, das man jedes Jahr um Weihnachten herum lesen kann. 

Wie die Figuren aussehen, überlässt die Autorin der eigenen Vorstellungskraft. Man erfährt nur, dass einige eine schwierige Kindheit hatten, während andere wissen, was es bedeutet, ein normales Familienleben zu führen. Das bringt die ganze Geschichte auf das Wesentliche. Und ist perfekt für das Buch. Aber man kann auch sehen, dass für einige die Ferienzeit nicht einfach zu ertragen ist. Aber dass es Hoffnung gibt und dass die Zeit einige der Wunden heilt. Die beiden Frauen in dieser Geschichte gehen sehr unterschiedlich mit ihrer Vergangenheit um, aber in ihrem gegenwärtigen Leben sind sie großartig zusammen. 

Wenn du eine berührende und bewegende Weihnachtsgeschichte mit langen poetischen Sätzen lesen möchtest könnte das dein Buch sein. Es ist kein gewöhnlicher Roman, aber mit Sicherheit ein wunderbarer. 

Zsuzsa Bánk
Zsuzsa Bánk ©Gaby Gerster 2020

Zsuzsa Bánk, born in 1965, worked as a bookseller and then studied journalism, political science, and literature in Mainz and Washington. Today she lives as an author with her husband and two children in Frankfurt am Main. She was awarded with the aspekte-literature prize, the German book prize, the Jürgen-Ponto prize, the Mara Cassens prize, and the Adelbert von Chamisso prize as well as the Bettina-von-Arnim prize. 



  1. Sounds like a really lovely Christmas story and I really like poetical sentences!


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