Ulrike Edschmid

A Man Who Falls - Novel

(German title: Ein Mann, der fällt)
ca. 194 pages
Ulrike Edschmid
Foto: Ulrike Edschmid
© SebastianEdschmid

Ulrike Edschmid, born in 1940, pursued literary studies in Berlin and Frankfurt and, in addition, studied at the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin, where she continues to live. She writes prose and literary non-fiction and is also famous for her artwork. 2013: Grimmelshausen-Prize and SWR-Best-of-List for her lifework. 2014: Cotta-Prize

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A different view of the world


Summer 1986. Berlin-Charlottenburg. A man climbs up onto a ladder to paint the ceiling of a flat in a turn-of-the-century building he intends to move into with his partner. He loses his balance and falls. Afterwards, nothing at all is like it was. Little else could have shattered the life of two people at the beginning of their future together in such a brutal way. But what at first seems like an ending slowly turns into the exploration of an unknown continent: one’s own life.

The struggle with paraplegia and the forced slowing down of everyday life come together against the backdrop of a city that is changing rapidly after the fall of the Wall. Iranian dissidents, Russian nouveau riche and Roma refugees arriving from the former Yugoslavia are moving in. Decades go by, but the flat in the corner building remains observation point and refuge, exposed and protected. Down on the street below, life not only moves more quickly but is louder, rawer and more violent. And then the building empties again leaving only the old couple behind – together with their lifelong attempt to hold out against all odds.

After the great success of her novel The Disappearance of Philip S., Ulrike Edschmid once again proves herself a powerful storyteller of the nature of misfortune. And the other view of the world we acquire from just such an experience.



»An impressive novel (…) with its laconic, almost report-like objectivity it creates a virtually addictive undertow.« Peter Henning, Spiegel Online


»Edschmid’s novel remains stylistically cool, almost record-like. Through everyday scenes and city sketches, German history unfolds as casually and unheroically as it often does in reality.« Katharina Teutsch, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


»Her sense of both the concrete and the atmospheric is truly admirable. There is not a single false sentence in Ulrike Edschmid’s writing, but not because she is in any way polemic.« Jury for the SWR-Best-Of-List Prize 2013

Other publications

Das Verschwinden des Philip S./The Disappearance of Philip S. (2013)

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