Sleep and Loss

vom schlafen vom verschwinden katharina hagena
Vom Schlafen und Verschwinden
Katharina Hagena
Kiepenheuer & Witsch

Sleep and Loss is a deeply textured and symbolic work of fiction in which serious themes are interspersed with lighter moments.

The novel follows the interconnected stories of two women: Ellen, a medical professional, who is working on a cultural history of sleep, and Martha, an older woman who turns out also to be a grandmother to Ellen’s daughter. Ellen’s mother is lying in a comatose state in hospital. Ellen’s father leads a choir to which Martha belongs, and we see them rehearsing a madrigal entitled Come, Heavy Sleep, which he is preparing for his wife. Every member of the choir is linked together in more ways than they understand. While Ellen’s non-linear story makes use of extended flashbacks amid sleepless nights, Martha documents the rehearsals chronologically.

An ingenious series of events unfolds in this densely packed novel which ranges between classical culture and common sense, bridging the worlds of early modern music and young motherhood. Hagena’s novel has a modern European outlook which will make it just as popular in London, New York or Dublin as in Hamburg or Berlin.

  • ‘Katharina Hagena writes so delicately and without reserve, so sensuously and precisely.’
    – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Katharina Hagena was born in Karlsruhe in 1967 and lives with her family in Hamburg, where she works as a freelance writer. Her novel Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen (‘The Taste of Apple Seeds’) was published in 2008 and became a major bestseller in Germany, France and Italy. Rights to the novel were sold to 25 countries, among them France (Anne Carrière), Great Britain (Atlantic), Italy (Garzanti), Netherlands (Cossee), Spain (Maeva).

Previous works include:
Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen (2008)

Translation rights sold to:
France (Editions Anne Carrière)

Translation rights available from:
Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch GmbH & Co. KG
Tel: +49-221-3768522

For information on publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch please contact NBG.

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut in your country.

For further information, please see our page on translation funding.