Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Psychological thriller set in Berlin and the Spreewald

27th October 2021

Sleepless by Romy Hausmann, psychological thriller set in Berlin and the Spreewald. Translated by Jamie Bulloch.

Psychological thriller set in Berlin and the Spreewald

Sleepless is a remarkable book. Some who have read Romy’s first book, Dear Child (which I sadly have not…) say it is not as good… If that is in fact the case, then Dear Child, must be something quite exceptional. Sleepless builds a complex atmosphere of intrigue and fear right from the outset. If there are criticisms, it is that the plot feels initially a bit slow and that the frequent time line switches can be hard to follow – but it is absolutely worth persevering.

Nadja Kulka, originally from Poland, is working in a major law firm in Berlin. Back in her native Poland, while still a child, she was imprisoned for the unplanned murder of her mother (a prostitute and much damaged human being). Nadja receives ongoing mental health counselling and lives by herself. She is not that well integrated into Berlin society but does, though, function pretty well at work.

Her boss’ wife, Laura, has a problem. She has just killed her lover… and turns to Nadja (an old friend from when they both worked at the firm) to help her. They hatch a plot to drive the body to a deserted house in the Spreewald, which used to be owned by a relative of Laura’s – and dispose of it. The planning is meticulous. They travel in separate cars – and Nadja (with the body) arrives first. Circumstances change, and the plan begins to fall apart. Nadja finds herself isolated and out manoeuvred. She becomes a pawn in a quite bizarre game. Events in the house are frightening and surreal – mental tricks are being played. The ending is not the one I would have expected…

As well as the main story outlined above, there are many subplots in Sleepless. At first they seem disjointed, but eventually the links begin to appear – and add a richness to the book. Quite how Remy kept the disparate threads alive in her mind and eventually brought them together is something to be marvelled at.

A unique plot, quite expertly told, with a really good translation from Jamie Bulloch. Sleepless is recommended.

Tony for the TripFiction team

Join Team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join TripFiction and take part in our weekly GIVEAWAYS!

Other benefits of membership include:

   Receiving an entertaining monthly newsletter

   Adding new books to the site

   Reviewing books you have read