Ulf Erdmann Ziegler

Nothing White - Novel

(German title: Nichts Weißes)
ca. 259 pages
Ulf Erdmann Ziegler
Foto: Ulf Erdmann Ziegler
© Jürgen Bauer

Ulf Erdmann Ziegler was born in 1959 in Neumünster / Holstein. His novel Hamburger Hochbahn earned him Nr. 1 on the SWR-Bestseller List. Ziegler was awarded the Friedrich-Hebbel-Prize in 2008. In 2012, his novel Nothing White, »a new style of realistic narrative« (German Book Prize Jury), was published and was later nominated for the German Book Prize and the Wilhelm Raabe Prize for Literature. Ulf Erdmann Ziegler lives in Frankfurt am Main.

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This is the story of Marleen, who falls in love with the world of letters before she has even learnt to read. Born into a family of successful advertisers and illustrators, she dreams as a young child of something truly great: the perfect font.

At art school Marleen finds support and her visions begin to take shape. Spurred on by an inventive spirit, she soon finds herself at the very centre of the working world in the 1980s – and succumbs to its promises. The media industry is in boom, everything takes off at full throttle and soon people lose their footing. Marleen suffers some setbacks, both in her career and her private life. Even at the start of globalization, flexibility is paramount and Marleen shows she’s flexible, no matter what it costs, in the hope that her dream will be less transitory than the world in which she wants to make it come true.

Ulf Erdmann Ziegler’s novel Nothing White depicts a generation for whom the outbreak of the computer age is synonymous with their own coming of age. Incisive, sophisticated and brilliant.


»[...] a novel full of powerful images and deep significance. This is thanks to the writer’s precise, perceptive gaze, his eye for detail as well as for the big picture that emerges from artfully piecing all the individual elements together, and not least to the precise and sensuous language, which is able to coax individual stories out of people and social constellations.« Die Welt

»Ulf Erdmann Ziegler has written a light, almost free-floating book. Its lack of grandstanding bravado is what gives it weight.« Der Tagesspiegel

»The Zeitgeist in Ziegler’s novel manifests itself in its precise description of the world of objects, which, far from being an end in itself, is constantly in dialogue with the wide-ranging world of ideas in the novel.« KulturSPIEGEL

»Ziegler is a razor-sharp provocateur.« FAZ

»A unique, new form of realistic narrative.« Jury of the 2012 German Book Prize

»In just 250 pages, Nothing White proves that writing the great German novel is not a question of the word count.« Spiegel Online

»An architecture of thought and feeling.« taz

»Nothing White is a novel that succeeds in refracting its big themes airily, pointedly, and intelligently through the life story of a young woman.« SWR 2

»[...] a family novel, a social novel, a novel of development – tailor-made for the German Book Prize ...« Die Zeit

»A solidly constructed book, a coming-of-age novel of great historical value and implicit social criticism, excellently researched, not precious or burdensome, clearly structured, and with a heroine who is not too exotic to identify with but to whom the book nevertheless maintains a certain distance. Readers who prefer to be both edified and entertained won’t go wrong here.« Frankfurter Rundschau