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About the book
  • Published: 3 September 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784704339
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $19.99

The Wish Child


Formats & editions


A dark and terrifying portrayal of the way two ordinary German children – Siggi and Erich – are drawn into the Nazi dream of a perfect nation

'A wonderful new talent' Nick Hornby
Germany, 1939. Sieglinde lives in the affluent ignorance of middle-class Berlin. Erich is an only child living a lush rural life, aware that he is shadowed by strange, unanswered questions. Both children watch as their parents become immersed in the puzzling mechanisms of power.

Drawn together as Germany’s hope for a glorious future begins to collapse, the children find temporary refuge in an abandoned theatre amidst the rubble of Berlin. The days they spend there together will shape the rest of their lives.

Winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Fiction

  • Pub date: 3 September 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784704339
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Catherine Chidgey

Catherine Chidgey was born in 1970. She has degrees in creative writing, psychology and German literature and lived in Berlin for three years. Her debut novel, In a Fishbone Church (‘Warm, subtle and evocative’ Louis de Bernières), won the South East Asia and Pacific Region Prize in the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel, a Betty Trask Prize and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, Golden Deeds, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, followed by The Transformation (‘As beautiful as it is terrifying’ Sunday Express) in 2006. Chidgey lives in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand.

‘Intelligent, lyrical, disciplined and observant, she is the real deal, the star of her generation.’ New Zealand Listener

‘Chidgey is a gifted writer, and her confident, commanding prose and vivid atmospherics hold the attention.’ Guardian


Praise for The Wish Child

“A remarkable book with a stunningly original twist.”

The Times

“An intriguing read”

Fanny Blake, Woman & Home

“An incredible piece of writing...takes us inside the minds of the children and their families with such tenderness, humanity and psychological astuteness that it creates an understanding of why they loved and followed Hitler.”

New Zealand Listener

“Compellingly gentle and empathetic...one of our 'must read' novelists. It is a book difficult to put down and deserving of more than one reading.”

Otago Daily Times (NZ)

“A brilliant novel, with a cohesive and persuasive vision of human beings under stress, a subtle prose-style and a major grasp of things that really matter.”

Reid's Reader blog (NZ)

“I love this book... I love the way, at this critical point in the world, when fundamental human values are violated, The Wish Child reminds us with grace and understated wisdom of a need to strive for universal good. I ached as I read. This novel is unmissable.”

Stuff (NZ)

“This novel is remarkable for its authenticity, this is a fiercely determined act of imagining... Heart-rending.”

North and South (NZ)

“Richly imaginative, memorable story”

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times


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