Deniz Ohde

Sky Glow - Novel

(German title: Streulicht)
ca. 284 pages
Deniz Ohde
Foto: Deniz Ohde
© Heike Steinweg

Deniz Ohde, born in Frankfurt am Main in 1988, lives in Leipzig. Scattered Light is her first novel.

Sold to

Domestic rights sales: German Audiobook (Bonnevoice)

Shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2020

A story of social climbing, self-empowerment and the predetermined breaking points in life

Selected for New Books in German – translation funding guaranteed

Literary Prize of the Jürgen Ponto Foundation 2020


Sky Glow tells a story of class and origin without pithy slogans, of discrimination and contempt and their effects on the individual. The book talks about social shame, societal constraints and inequality, but at the same time it is a novel about a young woman’s self-empowerment, despite all adversities.

Industrial snow marks the village limits, a subtle acidity is in the air, and behind the bridge whirrs the production hall where the father pickles aluminium sheets day in, day out. This is where the first-person narrator grew up, this is where she returns to when her childhood friends get married. And while she walks the familiar paths, she remembers: the father and the blind grandfather who barely talk, don’t want any change and are unable to throw anything away to the point where not just the personal chattels but also the suppressed memories bulge out. Memories of the mother, whose desire for freedom was suffocating in the constraints of a West-German working class flat until she packed her bags in a burst of rebellion and left her daughter with her drinking father. Memories of leaving school early and the effort of making up what she had missed in a second attempt, of the shame and the fear – first of not passing, then of being put back in her place as someone who had climbed.

»On the way home, I told my mother the word I had heard just before the shove. I asked what it meant. An insult, she said. But they can’t have meant you. You are German.«


»In case anyone still wonders what a German social history with the firepower of a Didier Eribon or a Annie Ernaux looks like: Here it is!« Miriam Zeh

»This is a startling bildungsroman that, skillfully told and subtly and artfully constructed, makes visible how ostracism and abasement work right into the smallest movements.« Fridtjof Küchemann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Deniz Ohde practises masterly linguisitic mimicry on a world of things hostile to humans in which broken dishes fraternises with shreds of wallpaper and loud industrial bridges.« Hubert Winkels, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»And in a roundabout way, this impressive novel about the injustices and insolence in this country’s educational system is also proof that not everything in this system is bad but that it still provides opportunities to go one’s own way in life.« Carsten Otte, Der Tagesspiegel

»What really speaks to the reader is [...] mainly the narrator's trust in the fact that it comes down to precise storytelling. Those who wish to be seen, have to show themselves, with no poses.« Dirk Knipphals, taz. die tageszeitung

»Sky Glow is a quiet story whose force seeps in slowly.« Lili Hering, ZEIT ONLINE

»[Deniz] Ohde observes and describes with precision what everybody sees but no one talks about. For those who identify as working-class children in particular, this novel, which gives expression to experiences without finding solutions however, is probably going to be an unsettling experience.« Anna Hoffmeister, der Freitag

»[...] a truly compelling debut. Empathetically, without ever seeming kitschy or soppy, Ohde portrays the difficult journey from working-class child of immigrant parents to academic.« Ingo Eisenbeiß, Deutschlandfunk

»Sensitive and with an incredible sense for dramatic composition, Deniz Ohde lends a voice to many children with a similar fate in Sky Glow. […] A substantial debut that unfolds its stunning effect precisely through its simplicity and ease.« Katia Schwingshandl, Buchkultur