Ulrike Edschmid

Levy’s Testament - Novel

(German title: Levys Testament)
ca. 144 pages
Ulrike Edschmid
Foto: Ulrike Edschmid
© SebastianEdschmid

Ulrike Edschmid, born in 1940, pursued literary studies in Berlin and Frankfurt and studied at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, where she continues to live. She writes prose and literary non-fiction and is also famous for her art. In 2013, she was awarded the Grimmelshausen Prize and in 2014, the Cotta Prize for her lifework.

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Selected for New Books in German – translation funding guaranteed

A story of love and loss and a journey through 1970s left-wing Europe


They meet in Berlin but in London they become a couple. They spend their days in a court room at the Old Bailey, to support anarchists facing draconian prison sentences. Strikes, squatting, IRA attacks and the tough measures taken by the government shape everyday life in the winter of 1972. The couple explore the city, floating through it weightlessly as though in a dream. The Englishman (as the narrator calls her companion) knows little about his Jewish family. Decades later, after they have already been separated for many years, the Englishman uncovers a family drama. It takes him back to the Old Bailey: to 1924, to a spectacular fraud case, in which the accused is Levy, his great-grandfather.

Following the restless search of her companion, encouraging it with her questions, the narrator stumbles upon the inscrutable workings of history, which connects the remotest episodes of our life. Their quiet, prosaic, adamant sound is what makes Ulrike Edschmid’s novels unique. In Levy’s Testament the lover turns into a chronicler and the intimacy of emotion into an instrument of cognizance.


»Her books are slim volumes. But they have an enormous impact.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Other publications

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

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