Friedmar Apel

Nanette's Memory - Novel

(German title: Nanettes Gedächtnis)
ca. 137 pages
Friedmar Apel
Foto: Friedmar Apel
Friedmar Apel, born 1948, is teaching Literature at Bielefeld University.

Rights available


The bookseller Nanette is a memory artist, who has lost her synesthetic abilities following a mysterious incident. Consequently she is of more interest to a well-known Russian brain researcher, who asks her to write down her story.

As a young woman Nanette wanders through the Berlin nightlife of the 1980s and ’90s. She meets famous people, falls in love with a young man, whom she calls Dutschke. Two paintings by William Turner, which vanished from the Frankfurt exhibition »Goethe and Art« in 1995, play a mysterious role in her recollections. The line between fact and fiction is blurred in the interpretation of the hues of these paintings, and the story grows increasingly uncanny.

In this skillfully written and willfully absurd novel of voices and moods ranging from melancholy to derisive gaiety, colors and words and fiction and reality play mind games with the reader, who can never be quite sure if the narrator is trustworthy.


»What else can human identity be based on beyond money and pleasure? Apel’s distinctive answer in his intelligent novel is that knowledge of one’s own history is worth every endeavor […]. Between multi-colored numbers and geometric music notes, and in a tale that unflinchingly goes to alarmist extremes, Apel describes how difficult the struggle for normality is in a state of crisis.« Hendrik Werner, Literarische Welt