Olga by Schlink

Olga by Schlink

Regular price $17.99 Sale

“A brilliant novel about history and the nature of memory.”—Evening Standard

Orphaned at an early age, Olga lives with her grandmother in a small Prussian village. Different from the other children, she is lonely until she meets Herbert, the son of a local aristocrat. Herbert is different too. He is a dreamer, and Olga is drawn to his adventurous spirit.

Reaching adulthood, Olga becomes a teacher while Herbert joins the army and goes to Africa where he fights in a brutal war against the local Herero. Though they are separated, the close friends maintain their bond through letters. But as Olga reads Herbert’s missives, her view of him darkens. Then one day, Herbert embarks on a quixotic mission into the Arctic, and Olga’s loyalty is put to the test . . .

By the end of World War II, Olga has endured irreversible changes. Forced to move west, she begins a new life as a seamstress, and befriends a young boy named Ferdinand who loves her attention and quirks. Eventually, Ferdinand will grow up and find a cache of Olga’s letters—correspondence that reveal secrets she had hidden from him—and everyone.

Seamlessly shifting between different viewpoints and forms, spanning from late nineteenth century to modern Germany, Olga tells the story of a woman forced to live below her capacities—next to men who live above theirs. Yet Olga copes with the hardships of her era with strength, dignity, and courage, and loves against all odds: passionately, desperately, wisely.