Jürgen Teipel

Our Unknown Family - True Stories about Animals and Humans

(German title: Unsere unbekannte Familie)
ca. 285 pages
Jürgen Teipel
Foto: Jürgen Teipel
© Jakob Feigl

Jürgen Teipel, born in 1961, began his writing career as the publisher of the punk-zine marionett. He has organised concerts for bands like Die Toten Hosen, has worked as a DJ, put on exhibitions and written for Die Frankfurter Rundschau, Die Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Der Spiegel, and Die Zeit.  He lives in Munich.

Sold to

Arabic world rights (Tanmia)

True stories that are going to change the way we see the animal kingdom




»We do not know the make-up of this unknown family, which is composed of human beings and animals.« Walter Benjamin

Animals think, animals feel, animals are inventive and have a complex inner life – and sometimes, they try and make themselves understood by us humans. Every now and then they succeed and those of us who have experienced this are not only changed forever, but also have a story to tell that has the potential to change the way we see the animal kingdom. Many people have related their extraordinary encounters to Jürgen Teipel – they are remarkable, surprising and moving stories: like the one about the squirrel that decides to climb up someone’s leg in a park, downright »adopts« them and won’t ever leave their side again, not even in the shower; or the seven-metre right whale calf that invites a diver to slide down its back; or the once wild cat that is so ecstatic about the return of its favourite humans that it dances with joy for days on end; or the terminally ill woman who found comfort in the empathetic company of a horse.

These stories, often incredible but nevertheless true – about humorous cows, horses that heal themselves, artistic monkeys, loved-up cats and frightened bunnies that surpass themselves – are about trust, compassion, friendship and, yes, of love for and among animals. In them, the boundaries between humans and animals seems to have been lifted for a short while.


»I’ve been waiting a long time for such a beautiful book.« taz. die tageszeitung

»Our Unknown Family brings together 39 emotionally moving, real moments.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»The stories are fantastic to read and provoke a beautiful mixture of feelings: wonder, a sense of contact, joy, compassion.« Inga Humpe, 2raumwohnung

»In every sense a book to read: not only does it inform us about how animals live together, but about how animals and human beings live together too, both successfully and unsuccessfully. It encourages one to look more closely and to reflect.« literaturkritik.de

»These 37 entertaining stories are by turns amusing and sad, and always informative.« Lesart 1/2018

»Almost incidentally with this book, in which the author has only assigned himself the role of literary documentalist, a small piece of great literature has been born.« Humanistischer Pressedienst

»In any event, no one has approached our dear fellow occupants of this planet with so much empathy in a long long time ... « zuckerkick.com

Other publications