The narrator of The German Room is a woman who flees her personal troubles in Argentina to travel to Heidelberg, the city where she was born, more than three decades after her parents sought refuge there from the dictatorship in their country. All she wants is peace and time to think, but she soon has to face making unexpected decisions, as figures from the past, a strange Japanese woman and a clairvoyant from back home stalk her dreams and waking life.
This is a novel that examines displacement from a new perspective, connecting the political persecution of the 1970s to the contemporary emotional exile of a rootless woman who finds herself pregnant, without really desiring to be a mother. In the end, a return to her childhood home does not mean a return to childhood, and she must face up to the responsibilities of being an adult.
With its themes of escape, family relations, self-reliance, mystery and foreignness, The German Room recalls the work of Elena Ferrante or Chloe Aridjis’ Book of Clouds, along with a dark humour and imagery that hints at Leonora Carrington. Crossing between cultures, this is a book for anyone who has ever dreamed of running away, but wondered what they might do when they got there.