The Doll’s Heart
Das Herz der Puppe

rafik schami kathrin schaerer das herz der puppe
Hanser Verlag
February 2012 / 189pp
Children’s & Young Adults’

This book is outside of the five-year window for guaranteed assistance with English language translation. We suggest getting in touch with the relevant funding body for an informal conversation about the possibility of support. Please refer to to our  recommendations page for books that are currently covered by our funding guarantee.


The Doll’s Heart is a light but moving book that follows the life of young Nina and her doll Widu as they learn about making and losing friends, about fear and how to deal with it, and about death and loss. Much of the charming humour derives from the fact that Nina and the reader can hear the doll, while Nina’s parents and other grown-ups cannot.

With oral narrative at its roots, the book is episodic, frequently setting story within story. Widu the doll is fascinated by Nina’s desires, her fears and her anger, which all live in her heart and which Widu cannot fully understand. In the last episode, Nina falls seriously ill. Since she would not be able to save her friend otherwise, Widu decides to get herself a heart. But this has serious consequences: by making her mortal, it means that she will die when Nina becomes an adult. The story, though, suggests that this might never happen.

Schami has the rare gift of addressing difficult subjects with a charming lightness. The Doll’s Heart is at once a collection of bedtime stories and a consideration of how fantasy and fiction interweave with reality.

about the author

Rafik Schami was born in Damascus in 1946, and came to Germany in 1971 to study chemistry in Heidelberg. Today he is the most successful Germanspeaking Arabic writer. His novels have been translated into 23 languages and received numerous international awards. His bestselling novel The Dark Side of Love (Haus Publishing, 2009) received rave reviews and he has won numerous prizes.

Previous works include:
Der Kameltreiber von Heidelberg (2006); Wie ich Papa die Angst vor Fremden nahm ( 2003)

rights information

Translation rights sold to:
Italy (Garzanti); Turkey (Kirmizi Kedi Yayinevi)

Translation rights available from:
Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich
Tel: +49 89 99830 519
Contact: Anne Brans 

For information on publisher Carl Hanser Verlag please contact NBG.

translation assistance

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut.

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