Review: Elly by Maike Wetzel @ScribeUKbooks @MaikeWetzel #WhoIsElly #PublicationDay #TranslatedFiction

A missing child is a nightmare for any family. But what happens when they come back?

Eleven-year-old Elly is missing. After an extensive police search she is presumed dead, and her family must learn to live with a gaping hole in their lives. Then, four years later, she reappears. But soon her parents and sister are plagued by doubts. Is this stranger really the same little girl who went missing? And if not, who is she?

Elly is a gripping tale of grief, longing, and doubt, which takes every parent’s greatest fear and lets it play out to an emotionally powerful, memorable climax. It is a literary novel with all the best qualities of a thriller.

Thank-you so much to Scribe for sending me an advanced readers copy out of Maike Wetzel’s Elly, a great get your teeth into translated fiction novella that was just the bookish medicine I needed. Elly is translated from German by Lyn Marven and it’s out today in hardback for your reading pleasures, a novel that captures grief, doubt and loss can be purchased from Waterstones here. Happy publication day Maike, I hope you’re enjoying a celebratory piece of cake!

“A missing child is a nightmare for any family”
The nightmare of when Elly goes missing is the focus of this novel, one where the ripples are provided via multiple viewpoints; her sister and parents, one that’s personal with an unreliable flare at times. I was mesmerised by the writing, as well as the thoughts of the inhabitants trapped within the pages. The allure of this domestic thriller intrigued me with its distorted type plotline, one that changed from point of views in a short choppy way that works – it kept me reading, the back and forth of the narratives coupled with the lyrical penmanship was quite breath-taking. The reader is given a glimpse of the surface events that occur before Elly’s absence, then dives into the depths of the emotional aftermath, focusing on the unity and emotion of the family members left behind with a huge cloud of self guilt that follows above them. All that’s left behind in this shell of a family is a distant father, a self loathing mother and the left over daughter that’s holding them together. The first person point of views provide an emotive core of the story, enabling us to identify them while also, from the outside, seeing the hairline cracks in the once strong familial bonds as they live in a bubble of loss and unknowing.

Elly is a tale of every parents nightmare, one where a child has gone missing, while microscopically studying the impact of a family after such loss. We become the fly on the wall, experiencing their feelings but then 4 years after going missing Elly reappears, is she the plaster that the family need to recover? Is the family mended or are they still broken? The return leaves a chilling airiness hanging in the air, a tension that could be cut with a knife, you’ll be gripped and needing more. Elly is a compelling literary thriller that’s snappy and dynamic, which is fantastically translated and absolutely recommended for readers who enjoyed Lullaby, The Lovely Bones and The Girl in the Red Coat.

Until next time,
Happy reading!

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