bestseller alert: Caroline Wahl and 22 LENGTHS

Caroline Wahl’s debut novel 22 LENGTHS is #8 on the SPIEGEL bestseller list with almost 40.000 copies sold since April!

  • a top SPIEGEL bestseller
  • rights sold to Al-Arabi (Arab); Albin Michel (French); Neri Pozza (Italian); Chanda Pustaka (Kannada)
  • raving press in Germany

„I’ve been whizzing through 22 Lengths and I’m absolutely thrilled. Heartwarming, fine, merciless and really beautiful at the same time.“ ALINA BRONSKY

“22 Lengths is an accomplished debut by Caroline Wahl, an exciting new voice in German fiction. A suspenseful and eminently readable story that grapples with serious themes, it offers a sharp portrayal of small-town attitudes and the struggles faced by a young woman on the cusp of adulthood.” New Books in German

‘This story credibly gets across the challenges faced by Tilda, a young woman left to bring up her sister because of her mother’s alcoholism. Tilda’s lack of self-pity and humour carry the story, which is ultimately heartwarming and positive. It also provides some insights into what it’s like to be an outsider growing up in a small provincial community.’ – Lucy Jones, translator

„Such a terrific debut! I was totally touched by the story of Tilda!
The inseparable bond of the two sisters, the way they deal with the topic of alcoholism and last but not least the fantastic writing style of the author! Definitely a book that I will be recommending to everyone!“ Swaantje Kohlwes, Findorffer Bücherfenster, Bremen

„Very well written, very gripping, very beautiful. […] A very authentic, very dense, very close book. I enjoyed reading it insanely.“
Elke Heidenreich, SPIEGEL ONLINE

„This small family novel […] is as shimmeringly bright as a June day, swinging back and forth with great ease like a hammock. Keeps perfect balance with all the emotion one feels while reading. Sometimes hard, always heartfelt.“

Christine Westermann, STERN

„Caroline Wahl tells her story in a light, clear, fast-paced language with an eye for detail.
Caroline Wahl has written a ravishing debut novel.“


“A debut that really inspires. Caroline Wahl keeps the balance, she takes her heroines seriously,

doesn’t lose a word too much and yet is very close to them.“

Kristine Harthauer, SWR2 LESENSWERT

„Magnificent, subtle and told in beautiful language.”


„Perhaps even one of the best summer books of this year.“

„Caroline Wahl’s storytelling in her debut novel is never cheesy, always unsparing and at the same time so touching that I don’t want it to end and life to get its act together after all“
Daniela Stohn, BRIGITTE

„A book that hits right to the heart and shows how and where happiness can be found.“


The Empowerment of Two Sisters: a Compelling, Luminous Debut

Tilda’s days follow a strict schedule: the supermarket till, maths homework, the swimming pool, cooking, looking after her 10-year-old sister Ida — and, on bad days, her mother too. The three of them live in the saddest house on Fröhlichstraße in a small town which Tilda loathes. After all, someone has to be there for Ida, someone has to earn money, take responsibility. They have no father in their lives anymore and their mother is a depressive alcoholic; she tries, but the situation runs away from her more and more. Then Tilda is offered a PhD position in Berlin, and her future flashes before her, promising freedom and possibility. But how can she leave Ida alone with their mother? And when Viktor, Ivan’s older brother who Tilda used to be friends with, appears, her life goes off the rails. Viktor has an unabashed grin and swims 22 lengths at the pool just like she does. Viktor is there for her when the situation at home spins out of control…

22 Lengths is a raw, tender story about shitty conditions, the devastation of family life, and finding happiness somewhere between responsibility and freedom.