What is the Hour Zero?
Stunde Null, hour zero, is what the Germans called the period after the second world war, when Europe was laid in ruins, and the world had to be built anew, on top of those ruins, by people who were, if not perpetrators, then carrying heavy loads of guilt. How do you start over? On the back of everything that’s happened? How much of your own complicity do you acknowledge, and how much do you try to hide, in order to keep living? In this novel Lotta Lundberg spins a world around the image of a woman standing in her own ruin, her own hour zero – where does she go from there?
Berlin 1945. The author Hedwig Lohmann is on traveling from the ruined city to a convent. About a year earlier her daguhter has made her way through hell. Where is she now – the girl she left behind? Is she even alive?
2005. Ingrid has quit her practice to move to the archipelago and be a priest’s wife. Her husband is ill and demands her care. But on the island lives also Hanna, the author that Karl-Erik seems to become closer and closer with.
1983. Isa cuts up her doll and as a teenager she ends up at a psychologist. One day she decides to create The Great Therapy-game – with balls, hearts and crosses. If you land on the wrong box on the board you will have to go straight to Chaos – but there are ways tom end the world.
With great skill Lotta Lundberg braids three voices together in a manner that brings The Hours to mind. The Hour Zero marks the end of the war, but also the human experience of standing in your own ruin. What is a woman allowed to do? What is most forbidden? Can you as a human get a new chance when the very worst has already happened?
Czech Republic/Kniha Zlin
Germany/Hoffman und Campe
”An impressive combination of skill and inspiring freedom … An excellent, and in many ways transforming readng experience … about the foundations of existence.”
”I can only surrender. Without conditions … a reckless plunge into the murkiest parts of the human psyche.”
”Here you find a – pardon the pompous expression – literary stature, a strength and security. It makes the three women’s stories a captivating, unpredictable read from the first page to the last.”
"A sincere and very great book with life stories it takes time to forget, a seamless story.”
”A book that gets into the reader … a serious and morally challenging pageturner.”
”With 'The Hour Zero' Lotta Lundberg consolidates her position as one of the most interesting contemporary authors.”
Sveriges Radios romanpris 2015
”With irrepressible brilliance in language and style she depicts the search for an inner calling, outer rules and love without limits. This year’s laureate has exposed the deep gulf between who you are and who you want to be. The circle is closed, she has reached her purpose.”