Author(s): Catherine Chidgey
Winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Fiction
Germany, 1939. Two children watch as their parents become immersed in the puzzling mechanisms of power. Siggi lives in the affluent ignorance of middle-class Berlin, her father a censor who excises prohibited words ('promise', 'love', 'mercy'). Erich is an only child living a lush rural life, aware that he is shadowed by strange, unanswered questions.
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. Watching over Siggi and Erich is the wish child. He sees what they see, he feels what they feel, yet his is a voice that comes from deep inside the wreckage of a nation's dream.