David Wagner


Where were we, my friend?

Perhaps this family was only sometimes a family. Now the roles are changing. The father, twice a widower, becomes a child again. He needs care and is forced to leave his home. He often forgets what just happened. He retells love stories from his own life, over and over. Sometimes he drifts off into a fantasy world.

Following his bestselling novel Life, for which he received the Leipzig Book Fair Prize, David Wagner’s new work creates something rare and precious. Despite living in the present and vanishing a little more each day, the father remains unique with all his idiosyncrasies and remaining memories. Wagner recreates daytrips, visits and car journeys to places where the old man once spent his life. “This is where we lived, Dad, here’s where you worked, that’s where you grew up.” We can’t help but be moved by the narrator’s humour, gentleness and sensitivity and marvel at the absence of indecision and anger. The old man’s dementia progresses slowly, silently, but doesn’t end in fear. Galan’s brothers used to call him Valentino. He’s happy, despite being aware what’s happening to him.

This poignant book addresses one of the most emotional and pressing issues of our times that affects increasing numbers of people. It is an unforgettable story.


David Wagner

David Wagner

David Wagner was born in 1971 in Andernach, Germany. His debut My Evening-Blue Trousers attracted significant critical attention. Four Apples was longlisted for the German Book Prize and for his novel Life he received the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in 2013. In 2014 he was appointed the first Friedrich Durrenmatt guest professor for world literature at the University of Bern. In 2019 he won the Bavarian Book Award for his novel The Forgetful Giant, and he was shortlisted for the Wilhelm Raabe Prize the same year. He lives in Berlin.