Martin Mosebach: What Was Before

translated by Kári Driscoll

Martin Mosebach’s novel opens with a young couple enjoying a moment of carefree intimacy. Then the young woman, turning slightly more serious, asks her lover that fateful question. The one that sounds so innocent but carries toxic seeds of jealousy: What was your life like before you met me? The answer grows into an entire book, an elaborate house of cards, filled with intrigue, sex, betrayal, exotic birds and far-flung locations. Set against the backdrop of Frankfurt’s affluent suburbs, this elliptical tale of coincidence and necessity unfolds through a series of masterfully constructed vignettes which gradually come together to form a scintillating portrait of the funny, tender and destructive guises that love between two people can assume and the effect it has on everyone around them.

German original published by Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, under the title Was davor geschah in 2010.