What You Can See from Here
Author: Mariana Leky; Translated from the German by Tess Lewis
In this international bestseller by the award-winning novelist Mariana Leky, a heartwarming story unfolds about a small town, a grandmother whose dreams foretell a coming death, and the young woman forever changed by these losses and her loving, endearingly oddball community
On a beautiful spring day, a small village wakes up to an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi. Someone is about to die.
Luisa, Selma’s ten-year-old granddaughter, looks on as the predictable characters of her small world begin acting strangely. Though they claim not to be superstitious, each of her neighbors newly grapples with buried secrets and deferred decisions that have become urgent in the face of death.
Luisa’s mother struggles to decide whether to end her marriage. An old family friend, known only as the optician, tries to find the courage to tell Selma he loves her. Only sad Marlies remains unchanged, still moping around her house and cooking terrible food. But when the prophesied death finally comes, the circumstances fall outside anyone’s expectations. The loss forever changes Luisa and shapes her for years to come, as she encounters life’s great questions alongside her devoted friends, young and old.
A story about the absurdity of life and death, a bittersweet portrait of small towns and the wider world that beckons beyond, this charmer of a novel is also a thoughtful meditation on the way loss and love shape not just a person but a community. Mariana Leky’s What You Can See from Here is a moving tale of grief, first love, reluctant love, late love, and finding one’s place in the world, even if that place is right where you started.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux