German / Germany

Die unterirdische Sonne
(The underground sun)

Ani, Friedrich (text)
München: cbt, 2014. – 332 p.
ISBN 978-3-570-16261-3

Island | Confinement | Brutality | Despotism | Thriller

Disturbing, destructive, but also courageous and border-crossing: Hardly any other German title published in 2014 has polarised opinion as much as this 330-page chamber play. Some accuse the novel of finding voyeuristic pleasure in excessive violence, while others praise it for minutely modelling psychological processes.

What is ≫Die unterirdische Sonne≪ about? It is about five children who are kept prisoners in a cellar and abused by their tormentors. Even if – or maybe because – the physical violence is not explicitly described and the children are forbidden to talk about it, the terrible ordeal that Leon, Conrad, Sophia, Maren, and Eike suffer becomes immediately apparent. Pictures of cramped dungeons and cruel psychopaths will inevitably appear in the readers’ minds. True, the children develop different strategies to overcome the hopelessness and eventually manage to escape. Nevertheless, this still remains a challenging novel. (Age: 14+)