Christa Wolf

Obituary for the Living - The Flight

With an afterword by Gerhard Wolf
Christa Wolf
Foto: Christa Wolf
© Susanne Schleyer

Christa Wolf, born in Landsberg/Warthe (Gorzów Wielkopolski) in 1929, passed away in Berlin in 2011. Her work has been awarded numerous awards, including the Georg Büchner-, Thomas-Mann- and Uwe-Johnson Literary Awards.

Christa Wolf’s works are translated into 40 languages and include:

Stadt der Engel oder The Overcoat of Dr. Freud (2010)
Mit anderem Blick. Erzählungen (2005)
Ein Tag im Jahr. 1960-2000 (2003)
Leibhaftig. Erzählung (2002)
Was bleibt. Erzählung (1990)
Sommerstück (1989)
Störfall. Nachrichten eines Tages (1987)
Die Dimension des Autors. Essays und Aufsätze, Reden und Gespräche 1959-1985 (1986)
Kassandra. Erzählung (1983)
Kein Ort Nirgends (1979)
Kindheitsmuster (1976)
Nachdenken über Christa T. (1968)
Der geteilte Himmel. Erzählung (1963)

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English world rights (Seagull), Italy (Edizioni e/o)

Christa Wolf’s 85th birthday: 18 March 2014


Written in 1971, now published for the first time: the story of a young woman, the story of her flight.

Charlotte, mother to the fifteen-year-old first person narrator of the novel, is the beloved center of the family, all commanding and outright. And yet, Charlotte has kept the obvious quiet: that reports from the front are ever more unsettling and that the streams of refugees from the east are crossing through the town at ever shorter intervals. Until a January morning in 1945 when all of sudden sheets appear in the hallway stuffed full to bursting, in place of the Hitler picture on the wall only a little yellow spot is to be seen, and, with a definitive gesture that the daughter will never be able to forget, her mother leaves her silver fox fur behind in the wardrobe.

Powerfully, touchingly, and with a tender sense of irony, Christa Wolf tells the tale of a family’s interior connections, of a fifteen-year-old girl’s path to maturity, of the trauma of flight. Written in 1971, this short story is the prelude to her later, sweeping autobiographical masterpiece Patterns of Childhood, a novel that continues to resonate today.


»As part of a comprehensive guide to Christa Wolf’s often controversial literary history, Eulogy provides a perfect starting point, an important introduction to her oeuvre, unraveling her complicated political and human positions from the beginning stages of her life.« Los Angeles Review of Books

»…this is great literature and indeed would remain so even if the language had not been so perfect.« Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

»The sentences are slim and straightforward. The conflicts sharply drawn. At times, a bit of irony resounds. The self-critical glance is impressive […] and through this glance one gains a greater thoughtfulness and deeper reflection on present day references to time. And this is what ultimately determined the author’s renown.« Sächsische Zeitung

»Her obituary is a modest gem and one of those wonderful stories which proves that Christa Wolf is a writer that will stand the test of time.« Fuldaer Zeitung

Other publications

»Wir haben uns wirklich an allerhand gewöhnt«/»We truly got used to all sorts of things« (2019)

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Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Random House Audio)

Ein Tag im Jahr im neuen Jahrhundert/One Day a Year (2013)

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English world rights (Seagull), France (Seuil), Japan (Dogakusha)

August/August (2012)

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English world rights (Seagull), Spanish world rights (Las migas también son pan), Brazilian Portuguese rights digital (Jaguatrica), France (Christian Bourgois), Italy (e/o), Estonia (Loomingu Raamatukogu), Serbia (Radni Sto), Slovenia (Modrijan)

Stadt der Engel/City of Angels or The Overcoat of Dr. Freud (2010)

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English world rights (FSG), Spanish world rights (Alianza), Russia (AST), Arabic world rights (Al Kamel), France (Seuil), Italy (e/o), Netherlands (van Gennep), Sweden (Norstedts), Norway (Gyldendal Norsk), Korea (Munhakdongne), Hungary (Kalligram), Bulgaria (Lettera), Romania (Univers), Lithuania (Mintis), Serbia (Albatros), Turkey (Kirmizi Kedi), Greece (Kastaniotis), Macedonia (Blesok), Albania (Santori), Azerbaijan (Alatoran), Israel (Hakibbutz Hameuchad); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Chinese simplex rights (People’s Literature Publishing House), Denmark (Vandkunsten)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Book Club (Der Club Bertelsmann)

Mit anderem Blick/Another View (2005)

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Greece (Kastaniotis); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Spain (Circula De Lectores), Italy (Edizioni E/O)

Ein Tag im Jahr/One Day a Year (2003)

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English world rights (Europa Editions), Russia (Kabinetny Utcheny), France (Fayard); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), Italy (Edizioni e/o), Denmark (Aschehoug), Japan (Dogakusha)

Kindheitsmuster/Patterns of Childhood (1976)

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USA (FSG), UK (Virago), Spanish world rights (Galaxia Gutenberg), Chinese simplex rights (Chunfeng Literature), Russia (Prawda), Arabic world rights (Kanaan), France (Stock), Italy (e/o), Netherlands (Van Gennep), Sweden (Norstedts), Japan (Kobunsha), Poland (Czytelnik), Czech Republic (Odeon), Slovakia (Smena), Hungary (Magvetö), Romania (Univers), Estonia (Eesti Raamat), Serbia (Svetlost), Greece (University Studio Press)