Annika Scheffel

Before It All Disappears - Novel

(German title: Bevor alles verschwindet)
ca. 411 pages
Annika Scheffel
Foto: Annika Scheffel
© Heike Steinweg

Annika Scheffel, born in 1983 in Hannover, is a novelist and screenwriter. Her debut novel Ben was published in 2010 and featured on the SWR best books list. Annika Scheffel lives with her family in Berlin. Before It All Disappears is her first book with Suhrkamp. In 2015, she was awarded the Robert-Gernhardt-Prize.

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Losing your mind won’t save you either

»Back then, when everything was different, when they still didn’t know anything about anything and their imaginations were wide open, they were given two prophecies: first, one day you will be very happy, and second, everything perishes.«

The little town slung in the valley like in a hammock – a town without a name, that could be anywhere. One day, in the surrounding forest, they spot »those responsible«, with the plans for a recreation area – they’re going to build a dam, flood the valley – along with everything in it:

The house where the adolescent twins Jula and Jules, for whom life in the countryside doesn’t mean renouncing utopia, were born; Ernst’s grave, where Greta, the eldest, mourns for her love and ponders the quickest way to join him; the headless stone lion in front of the town hall that cannot protect David from his father the mayor; and the blue fox painted by the youngest, Marie, and which henceforth skulks through the forests.

How will the townsfolk resist the disappearance of their home and their histories? And who in the end will be free enough to begin a new life?

As if Hansel and Gretel had found their way to Macondo, as if Pedro Páramo had been written by Miranda July: Before It All Disappears is a bright spark of a novel, wonderfully strange and luminously powerful. A tale of dark secrets and desperate hopes. Deeply poignant, unexpectedly funny – the way life is.


»Scheffel […] plunges into the past of [a flooded] place, and it feels like being under glass that can shatter from the water pressure at any time. […] Before It All Disappears is fairytale-like and, at the same time, a very contemporary book.« FAZ

»A danse macabre with satisfaction guaranteed!« Annette Pehnt

»Annika Scheffel has taken reality and infused it with the possibilities of literature.« Volker Weidermann, FAS

»Before It All Disappears is more than a fable of destruction with made-up animals. The novel is an allegory of our own lives, threatened by insolvency, financial crises, housing bubbles, all of which create a climate of fear and uncertainty.« WDR

»Every emotion, every adjective bespeaks a deep connection these characters. With a well-balanced combination of fantasy and seriousness, and a keen sense for the interplay of emotion, melody, and poetry, Scheffel tells a story which in its essence could have been taken from any newspaper – but which at the same time is completely and ingeniously made-up.« Basler Zeitung


Book Trailer for Annika Scheffel's new novel Before It All Disappears:

Annika Scheffel reads from her new novel Before It All Disappears:

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