A gripping, atmospheric novel about obsession and love in war-time Vienna
This extraordinary novel is seen through the eyes of Johannes, an avid member of the Hitler Youth in the 1940s. After he is severely injured in a raid, he discovers his parents are hiding a Jewish girl called Elsa behind a false wall in their large house in Vienna.
His initial horror turns to interest, then love and obsession. After the disappearance of his parents, Johannes finds he is the only one aware of Elsa's existence in the house, the only one responsible for her survival. Both manipulating and manipulated, Johannes dreads the end of the war: with it will come the prospect of losing Elsa and their relationship, which ranges through passion and obsession, dependence and indifference, love and hate.
This gripping, masterful work examines truth and lies at both political and personal levels, laying bare the darkest corners of the human soul.
Totally compelling - Woman's Weekly (NZ)
The best part of this interesting novel is its ability to show parts of our history which others dismiss: why suffering can make some people more sensitive but others more cruel, and how a war, such an outrage to human dignity, blurs the line between the victorious and defeated - Elle
Leunens has an ear for language and the ability to create a vividly sensual world for her characters that I found highly satisfying - Cushla McKinney
A novel that breaks all the rules. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, the result is a disturbing and gripping novel that has haunted me ever since I finished reading it. - New Zealand Books
A vivid and deeply compelling novel, Caging Skies is an existential battle of moral and ethical extremes. Christine Leunens is an adept and eloquent storyteller - New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones
Christine Leunens is the author of three novels translated into more than fifteen languages. Her novel Caging Skies is an international bestseller, sold in sixteen countries and the basis for a major new film by director Taika Waititi. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, she's spent most of her life in Europe and now lives in New Zealand. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. A former model, Leunens was the face of Givenchy, Paco Rabanne, Nina Ricci, and others.