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On a warm summer day in Berlin, Helena is hit by a truck while crossing the street. She awakens to the loving face of her husband Joachim, but can’t remember anything about the accident, or even the last few years leading up to it. Retrograde amnesia the doctors call it and assure her that with time, she should regain her memory. Joachim doesn’t intend to lie to his estranged wife, Helena. But when he realizes that she doesn’t remember their separation, he can’t bring himself to tell her, so he takes her home and pretends they were never apart. As the lies accumulate, Helena senses something isn’t quite right—that her husband is hiding something. When the outside world encroaches, Helena must face an unsettling truth and decide what the past will mean for their future.
In her beautifully written debut novel, Kat Hausler weaves a haunting tale of the tenuous nature of love.
- Kirkus Reviews – “[E]ach word that is spoken or left unsaid becomes important in a cat-and-mouse mind game that gives this pensive story some elements of a thriller. The love that’s described is always on thin ice (“But the moment he touches her, the spell will break, and they’ll just be two people in bed together, without any enchantments”). Hausler’s ability to describe the precarious state of the emotions involved is consistently convincing. . . . A strongly written tale about resurrecting a marriage under the most unusual and mysterious of circumstances.” – Full Review
- Nudge Books | Linda Hepworth (4/5 stars) – “This disturbing, haunting and powerful story explores the minutiae of the relationship between the couple as they start to live together again . . . the ending was a masterpiece of the power of “less is more” in story-telling – but if you want to know what it is, then you will have to read this wonderful novel.” – Full Review
- Paperback Paris | Melissa Ratcliff (4/5 stars) – “Hausler’s debut novel was an incredibly beautiful look at love put through the test of time. Retrograde is very much about the nature of love as it features many of the ups and downs of a difficult relationship. From touching dates and admiration to petty fights and full blown arguments, Hausler’s breakout has it all.” – Full Review
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