Mischa Mangel

A Slit of Air - Novel

(German title: Ein Spalt Luft)
ca. 270 pages
Mischa Mangel
Foto: Mischa Mangel
© Heike Steinweg

Mischa Mangel, born in 1986, lives in Berlin and studied Creative Writing and Culture Journalism in Hildesheim as well as Cultural Mediation/Médiation Culturelle de l’Art in Hildesheim and Marseille. He was a finalist for the Literaturpreis Prenzlauer Berg 2015. A Slit of Air is his debut novel.

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Selected for New Books in German – translation funding guaranteed

An unusual and touching parent-child story

A subtle, musical and poetic debut novel

On family memories, family losses and motherhood

»Only my mother knows what happened in the roughly twenty-one months that we were alone together.«


Shortly after he was born, his mother suffers her first psychosis. She takes the infant and withdraws from the outside world more and more, breaks off all contact with friends and family, rarely leaves the one-bedroom flat. Meanwhile, his father fights for sole custody. When the son is finally welcomed into his new family, all contact with his mother stops. That is why, almost twenty years later, he depends on the testimony of others – court files, tape recordings, family stories and memories – to learn what happened during that time. He imagines what that time could have been like and a surreal, nightmarish world catches up with him.

With great empathy, Mischa Mangel tells the story of a young man who is circling both his own story as well as that of his family. He assembles different voices: the bureaucratic language of psychological evaluations and studies, fairy tales, dreams, psychotic rants, narrative and poetic sequences – an artistic collage, a polyphonic literary debut.