Elefanten sieht man nicht

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Title in English: 
Elephants are invisible (The Elephant in the room)
Susan Kreller
Place of publication: 
Carlsen Verlag
Year of publication: 
208 p.
14 x 22 cm

Susan Kreller’s debut novel is an artfully composed narrative dealing with a very serious topic. It is the story of two abused children and their mother from a well-to-do middle-class family. However, it is not told from the point of view of the victims, but through an adolescent first-person narrator, who is a misfit herself and hence very aware of the suffering of others. In hindsight she tells the story of how she tried to help the children without any support from adults. Her language is tentative and rich in imagery. Her descriptions of the adults are tough and whose apparent ignorance is almost monstrous to the girl. This polarisation is not only fitting for the topic itself but also for the logic of the story, which is basically constructed like a classic tragedy. The heroine finds herself in a hopeless situation and heading towards a tragic climax. Still, there is a shimmer of hope the end as her desperate actions finally lead to the revelation of the abuse. This book was selected for the IBBY Honour List 2014.