Mareike Nieberding

When We Forgot How to Speak - A Daughter-Father Story

(German title: Ach, Papa)
ca. 187 pages
Mareike Nieberding
Foto: Mareike Nieberding
© Suhrkamp Verlag

Mareike Nieberding, 29, studied Literature and Journalism in Berlin und Paris. After training at the Deutschen Journalistenschule (German School of Journalism) in Munich she has written for, among others, Neon, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and Die Zeit. Following the election of Donald Trump, she founded the youth movement DEMO.

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Throughout her childhood and teenage years Mareike Nieberding would be picked up by her father no matter where she was, if she was drunk, or who she was with. From a party at one in the morning, at seven after a shift at the bar. Her father was her protector, her comforter, an incurable optimist. When she sits in front of him today she asks herself who this greying man with freckles really is, what he thinks and feels, whether he’s happy. At some point between then and now the two stopped getting to know each other. These days, once he’s picked her up from the train station and they’re on their way, they talk about neighbours and other acquaintances until all of a sudden they’re home, and silent. They don’t argue. They just have nothing to say to each other.

When We Forgot How to Speak talks about why most father-daughter relationships are no longer the same after puberty. And how to get closer to each other again at the moment one’s almost lost to the other.


»Mareike Nieberding is a great writer. She writes clearly and directly, full of power and flow.« Volker Weidermann

»In When We Forgot How to Speak, Mareike Nieberding recounts in a concise, touching, but never melancholic way of how women often lose their fathers while growing up - and how she first decides to get to know hers.« Brigitte