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Love in Five Acts

On sale

28th April 2022

Price: £9.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529406405

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“Highly recommended” Sunday Times

“Utterly captivating” Woman and Home

“Sympathetic and clear-eyed” Financial Times Summer Reads of 2021

“Unfailingly impressive” Irish Times

“Sparse and precise” Telegraph

“A beautiful novel of what it is to be a women in modern Europe” New European

An intelligent study of female desire, ambition and frailty” Observer

Bookseller Paula has lost a child, and a husband. Where will she find her happiness? Fiercely independent Judith thinks more of horses than men, but that doesn’t stop her looking for love online. Brida is a writer with no time to write, until she faces a choice between her work and her family. Abandoned by the “perfect” man, Malika struggles for recognition from her parents. Her sister Jorinde, an actor, is pregnant for a third time, but how can she provide for her family alone?

Love in Five Acts explores what is left to five women when they have fulfilled their roles as wives, mothers, friends, lovers, sisters and daughters. As teenagers they experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall, but freedom brings with it another form of pressure: the pressure of choice.

Punchy and entirely of the moment, Love in Five Acts engages head-on with what it is to be a woman in the twenty-first century.

Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch


Stefan Kister, Stuttgarter Zeitung
It's the book of the summer
Silker Mueller, Stern
Maybe that is the artistry, the literary concept of Daniela Krien, the familiar truthfulness of her characters, their touching intimacy
Vogue (Germany)
With psychological refinement Daniela Krien recounts the chaos of feelings and the short half-life of modern ways of living
Christian Mayer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung
She is a good listener, [...] Maybe this is why her novel Love in Five Acts is so entertaining
Melke Schnitzler, Brigitte
Krien expertly connects fortunes that only seem simple at first glance to create an altogether excellent book
Harald Butz, Hamburger Morgenpost
Daniela Krien is an impressive storyteller for emergency case called love, which silences many of us. Daniela Krien gives them a strong voice
Burkhard Müller, Süddeutsche Zeitung
The polyphony and the way in which every single voice is being led midway between the protagonist and the narrator constitute the special quality of this book
Rainer Moritz, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Few intelligently entertaining German novels don't ooze relevance yet are not afraid of existential seriousness. Fortunately, Krien has written one
Cornelia Geißler, Berliner Zeitung
Nothing in this life is for free. And this is why this book entertains and is food for thought, with remarkable women in their thirties and forties
Woman and Home
This exquisite portrait of five middle-class women's lives is utterly captivating . . . A beautifully written masterclass in human frailty.
Fans of Sarah Dunn, Elisabeth Egan, and Isabel Gillies will relate to the multifaceted lives of Krien's characters, brilliantly rendered in her vivid voice.
Charlie Connelly, New European
Love in Five Acts is written - and translated - sparsely, five disparate voices cramming a world of nuance into a rare and elegant conciseness.
Library Journal (USA)
Krien has produced a sensitive, intricate study of the connected stories of her characters.
Michael Cronin, Irish Times
Krien excels in the detail on which a life turns and she uses understated humour to great effect...Krien is unfailingly impressive in her depiction of the lives of these five very different women.
Hannah Beckerman, Observer
Written in unsentimental, affecting prose, this is an intelligent study of female desire, ambition and frailty.
Francesca Carrington, Telegraph
Krien's writing (translated, excellently, by Jamie Bulloch) is sparse and precise. It hops about in time, but chronological confusion fades in teh face of the self-contained intensity of the chapters.
Patricia Nicol, Sunday Times
The writing is spare but meticulous, cutting to the heart of the matter in each of the five intimate novellas. Occasionally mordantly funny, it is all gloriously Germanic . . . All these women are children of Unification and the GDR casts a long shadow. Highly recommended.
Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times Summer Books of 2021
A multifaceted examination of female longing and loss . . . A sympathetic and clear-eyed view of modern womanhood.
Kerryn Goldsworthy, Melbourne Age & Sydney Morning Herald
Characterised by the way its beautifully direct and lucid prose conveys complexities, and by a fierce intelligence that shows how closely connected someone's thoughts and emotions can be to daily experience of the physical world
Anne Cunningham, Irish Independent
A chronicle of ordinary women enduring extraordinary crises . . . These are universal problems distilled down to the particular, the domestic, the small-print of human bondage and the yearning for it, that underpins our daily lives.
Lucy Scholes, Financial Times
Written in pleasingly exact and unfussy prose - crisply translated by Jamie Bulloch - this German bestseller interweaves the stories of five straight women, all around 40 years of age, living in Leipzig.