Christoph Nußbaumeder

The Unexpected - Novel

(German title: Die Unverhofften)
ca. 671 pages
Christoph Nußbaumeder
Foto: Christoph Nußbaumeder
© Susanne Schleyer

Christoph Nußbaumeder, born in 1978, is a playwright and author. The Unexpected is his first novel. He lives in Berlin.

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A family saga, an epos about ambitions


Late summer in the year 1900 in the Bavarian Forest. Standing on a hill, the young labourer Maria looks down at her village. The glass factory that employs the local people is engulfed in flames. Maria herself has started the fire as revenge for a rape that went unpunished.

In the night of the devastating fire begins the story of a family that centres around the rise of Georg Schatzschneider from being the illegitimate son of a servant to directing a big corporation. But where unrestrained ambition and entrepreneurial instinct ostensibly become the guarantee for success in a breath-taking career in the formerly divided, then reunited Germany, in the background generation after generation of the family atones for a great wrong that originated from a white lie, for a guilt with which Georg’s ancestors burdened the following generations.

In his first novel, The Unexpected, award-winning playwright Christoph Nußbaumeder tells a gripping and moving family saga that spans across four generations; an epos about society and ambitions that debates the battles of distribution and resistance movements of an entire century up to the immediate present while dealing with the eternal fuel for the great tragedies of humanity at the same: love, betrayal and mankind’s insatiable need for recognition.


»Nußbaumeder often needs but a few sentences to make the situation and the people in it come to life.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»With the intuition of the dramatist who has the ability to emphasise big time jumps in highly symbolic scenes and encounters between people, he has written a [...] family epic that is a great literary surprise.« Katharina Teutsch, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»The Unexpected is an intelligent, incredibly entertaining novel.« Christoph Schröder, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Nußbaumeder is a well-read author ...« Michael Angele, der Freitag

»Christoph Nußbaumeder's first novel The Unexpected is dynamite for the soul. A great reading experience, a lasting work!« Frank Willmann, neues deutschland

»Nußbaumeder joins Germany's economic history with characters that slowly but surely grow on the reader. An intelligent, a really good page-turner.« Peter Twiehaus, ZDF Morgenmagazin

»The way Nußbaumeder [...] finds the right measure between appealing dramaturgy, vivid characters [...], lively dialogues, historic and literary descriptions on more than 600 pages is a pleasure.« Bayern 2 Diwan

»The longing for epic stories to lose oneself in and for characters that grow on readers inch by inch can be fulfilled at the movies, or with a TV show, but most engagingly, probably, with a book. With this book, for example.« Ulrich Seidler, Berliner Zeitung