Meike Ziervogel/Writer

The Photographer: Reviews

'Few books have the ability to move the reader in the first pages, as The Photographer does... Ziervogel makes us question ideas of innocence and blame during fraught times; even Trude prefers to blame society rather than confirm her suspicions about her own mother. While we see nothing of the front line, we see Albert's aggression on his return; and while we meet few Nazis, their power and influence are eerily manifest in Agatha's actions. Through her quiet exploration of the domestic lives of refugees, Meike Ziervogel shows us the less visilbe effects of war, and the ways in which it can corrupt and change us.' Claire Kohda Hazelton, Times Literary Supplement

'Ziervogel’s own grandmother was given an hour to pack up in the winter of 1945 before she and her sons joined a huge column of people tramping for mile after mile through ice and snow. They never made it back home to Pomerania. Nor did they ever discuss the war and its aftermath. But two generations on, Ziervogel, whose previous novel about Magda Goebbels portrayed her as a real woman, shines a humanising light into the dark spots of her country’s history.' Lucy Ash, Observer


Book of the Week Meike Ziervogel’s The Photographer is a beautiful and moving work of art, told in a series of vivid and visual chapters like snapshots. With its underlying message of acceptance, forgiveness and hope, The Photographer should be an obligatory teen-read on every school curriculum. It is a perfect book to kick off a book club. Buy it and see.’ Georgia de Chamberet, BookBlast Diary

The Photographer has that wonderful combination of being dense with reading, yet with an openness to the writing. The novel is structured like a photo album: whole lives are narrated, but intermittently. Some events are told in detail; others have to be inferred by the reader; still others are so private that they don’t appear on the page. This is a novel of history as something lived through and looked back on, vivid incidents scattered among the threads of life.’ David Hebblethwaite, David’s Book World

‘The writing is spare yet strikingly affective, touching the essence of each individual with precision. This is an impressive work of literary fiction that remains compelling and accessible. Like fine wine, it is best savoured and shared.’ Jackie Law, Bookmunch

‘Ziervogel’s plot is consciously elliptic, full of inscrutable silences, screaming questions (or accusations) and glaring absences. She succeeds in transcribing both the guttural, monistic psychology of pre-war Germans but also the mechanics of how they were precipitated into a void so irrefutably full of human presence – of all sorts. Refusing to edit or beautify through elaborate framing, she would rather capture the moment as it happens, in its ineluctable fragmentary sequence. As a novel, this reads powerfully, intriguingly, engagingly. As a human record, it has a depth of uniqueness, a perspective not often acknowledged: that of anonymous, inconsequential, commonplace Germany during the first half of the 20th century, and the exceptional, undeniable value of singular, individual lives.’ Mica Provata-Carlone, Bookanista

‘Altogether this is a remarkable book that explores a number of important issues; I haven’t even mentioned the way it hints at the impact being a refugee has down the generations, or explores the tensions between a returning father and his child. And I’ve hardly touched on the questions it asks, certainly makes me ask, about the silences and gaps that run through any family history.’ Hayley Anderton, Shiny New Books