It is 1959, and friends Ruth and Christa are enjoying their last summer holidays before the school leaving exams. During a lunchtime swim they meet Erich, a young man who is a member of a group of evangelical Christians. Little do they know Christa will soon secretly be accompanying Erich to Chile to collaborate in the founding of the Colonia Dignidad.
Employing a split timeline and a dual perspective, Anja Jonuleit tells the story of the notorious German Colonia Dignidad in Chile – from the perspective of Ruth, who has been left behind, and later through the eyes of her daughter Anne. The colony was home to a radical Christian sect, completely cut off from the outside world and actively involved in human rights violations during the Pinochet dictatorship. The German colony’s founder and leader, who later became a fugitive, was recently convicted on charges of the sexual abuse of minors.
• Deeply moving women’s literature: Anja Jonuleit succeeds brilliantly in breaking down the complex subject of the Colonia Dignidad, transposing it to the personal level by following the fortunes of two women.
• The real-life backdrop lends this book an utterly captivating explosive force.
• You find yourself flying through the pages – at once riveted and appalled – looking for answers which can never be found.