The year 2015 is still in its early days when a terrorist attack devastates Paris, transforming the soul of the city overnight. In the middle of it all, a young Austrian man is trying to find a past love. Ten years have passed since he and Samira went their separate ways, but wherever he goes, he finds himself confronted by memories of their time together. On the surface he is looking for another woman – Marianne, the daughter of an Austrian mother and a Moroccan father, who hails from the same small town in the Alps as him and has been missing for almost fourteen years. A newspaper report sends shockwaves through his body: he notices that her face bears a striking resemblance to Samira’s.
The lost children at the heart of Christoph W. Bauer’s novel are all different: they have been driven out of the normal order of things, they are tied to a strange past or have been left behind to carve out a future that is worth living. The crowd of absentees gathers against the backdrop of the real main protagonist: a Paris caught between the sheen of the city centre and the gloom of its margins, marked by the threat of terror in everyday life.
Christoph W. Bauer (1968) was born in Carinthia and grew up in Tyrol. He writes poetry, prose, essays, plays and translations, and he has penned numerous published works. Bauer has received several awards, including the Reinhard Priessnitz Prize (2001), the people’s choice award in the Ingeborg Bachmann competition (2002), the Carinthian Writers’ Guild Award (2010), the Carinthian Poetry Prize (2014) and, most recently, the Outstanding Artist Award and the Tyrolean Regional Prize for Art (both in 2015). He first made a name for himself as a poet, publishing his debut collection of poetry, “wege verzweigt”, in 1999. He then wrote two literary documentary-style novels, both very much rooted in the history of the city of Innsbruck: “Im Alphabet der Häuser” recounts the history of Innsbruck’s buildings from the Middle Ages to the present day in the form of a novel, while “Graubart Boulevard” tells the tale of the expulsion and murder of the Graubarts, a Jewish merchant family, under the Nazi regime. He later wrote more volumes of poetry, with some of his works enjoying exceptional success for the genre (“mein lieben mein hassen mein mittendrin du” (2011) and “stromern” (2015), the short stories “In einer Bar under dem Meer” (2013)). Bauer’s latest novel, “No One’s Children”, marks a complete departure from his regionally rooted literature; this is a novel with a historical background that can be read as fiction of a literary standard throughout the German-speaking world.