Look at Me
Mareike Krügel, translated by Imogen Taylor
Surrounded by family chaos and doing her best to keep up with the demands of a commuting husband who catches the train home from Berlin only at weekends, a part-time job teaching music at the kindergarten, and a manic daughter with ADHD, Katharina has not yet told anyone about the recently-discovered lump in her breast and doesn't want to think about it. It sounds like one of those funny-housewife novels and parts of it are indeed very funny in a despairing sort of way, but for all the chaos of Katharina's life and for all the humour of her narrative voice, this well-written and surprisingly complex novel has an unexpected gravitas. It seems to deal lightly with the difficulties of suburban life, with child-rearing and health problems and the death of female ambition, but as the climax of this story makes clear, all of these things are being taken very seriously indeed.