Thomas Hettche
Herzfaden (Heartstring)
Novel of the Augsburger Puppenkiste

with 27 drawings by Matthias Beckmann

Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2020
288 pages
24 Euro

During a visit to a puppet theater with her father, shortly after her parents have split up, a 12-year-old girl discovers a small wooden door in the foyer, opens it, and, like Alice in Wonderland, finds herself in a fairyland full of old familiars including Hansel und Gretel, the Little Prince, and many others.

But, most importantly, she meets Hatü here – the woman who once created all these marionettes and who has a big story to tell: The story of a magical theater that was founded during the darkest period of Germany’s history, that offered new hope to old and young spectators when it was reborn after the war, and that still exists in Augsburg today.  From her childhood during the War, her youth between ruins with the newly awakening art and music scene, friendships and loves to the grown-up life with kids - Hatü takes her visitor with her through important stages of her life that was always affected by her enthusiasm for the puppet theater. Her great goal was to combine the old tradition of puppet theater with new, contemporary content (she was the first worldwide that brought the Little Prince to the stage) and thus bring people joy and inspiration similarly.

Heartstring tells about the power of fantasy in dark times and the relevance of art in situations of crisis. A fascinating social and family novel – and an enchanting fairytale for grown-ups and young readers.

"Last but not least, 'Herzfaden' is also a reflection on the possibilities of art and at the same time a novel that makes full use of these possibilities itself." – Deutschlandfunk