Ulrike Edschmid

The Disappearance of Philip S. - Novel

(German title: Das Verschwinden des Philip S.)
ca. 157 pages
Ulrike Edschmid
Foto: Ulrike Edschmid
© SebastianEdschmid

Ulrike Edschmid, born in 1940, pursued literary studies in Berlin and Frankfurt and studied at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, where she continues to live. She writes prose and literary non-fiction and is also famous for her art. In 2013, she was awarded the Grimmelshausen Prize and in 2014, the Cotta Prize for her lifework.

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France (Piranha), Italy (e/o), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Turkey (Aylak Adam)

A terse and unsentimental love story about love and death, mourning and survival.


In her novel The Disappearance of Philip S., Ulrike Edschmid thinks back to the years spent with Philip S., a young man from a wealthy Swiss family. The two met in the crucible of Berlin anno 1967 – he was studying at the film school, she was acting in his first experimental film. Edschmid describes her partner’s slow, steady progress from student protests to the armed underground.


»This story has never been told in such a clear and unsentimental way. […] One of the most haunting and accurate novels about this period in our history.« Radio Berlin Brandenburg

»In this insightful book, Ulrike Edschmid approaches the radicalised student movements of the ’68 generation from a completely new angle. The human angle. She was in a relationship with this man whom others knew only as a terrorist on wanted posters. And she uses this personal connection to gain insight into what motivated those individuals to do the things they did.« Literaturen

»Her ability to remember the little things; her incredibly precise, unsentimental style that doesn’t talk about feelings, which is precisely what allows them to emerge on their own – these are the things that make Edschmid’s novel what it is. The view from afar that is able to generate closeness. A story of love for her son and husband and a completely original retelling of the story of a time frozen in received notions, a time we thought we knew inside and out.« 3sat Kulturzeit

»It makes this novel into the living document of an historical consciousness.« Die Welt

» […] its prodigious density, its gripping intensity. I couldn’t put this book down even for a second.« Die Zeit

»In its 160 pages, The Disappearance of Philip S. gathers great narrative force. […] The book is informed by a tentative curiosity.« Der Spiegel