Vati / Daddy

Monika Helfer

Carl Hanser Verlag, January 2021

Daddy is a memoir that pens a portrait of a post-war generation. It is a novel about growing up in difficult circumstances and the author’s search for her roots.  

He had a prosthetic leg, was often absent, was a widower, a pensioner and loved literature. Monika Helfer’s book orbits her father’s life and tells the story of her childhood and adolescence – the spaciousness and library in the mountain recovery home for war victims and the poverty and the cramped conditions in a South Tyrolean settlement with many children in one kitchen. She writes what she knows about her father, a man who, like many of his generation, didn’t say much. With great veracity, the result is a novel that gently unfolds existential matters and traces painful memories. ‘Yes, everything turned out fine. In a terrible way, it all turned out fine.’ 

Monika Helfer born in 1947 in Au / Bregenzerwald, lives with her family in Vorarlberg. She has published numerous novels, stories and children’s books. Her novel Look at Me When I Talk to You (2017) was nominated for the German Book Prize. Her most recent publication was Riffraff (2020). 

An English-language sample translation by Lucy Jones is available to read here