The Cold Centre


Author: Inka Parei
Translated by Katy Derbyshire

9780857428318 | PB | pp. 152 | 2021 | Seagull Books

In The Cold Centre, a man receives a startling call that his e-wife is awaiting a cancer diagnosis. A series of questions run through his mind as he tries to get to the heart of it all.

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East Germany. The last days of the Wall. A man receives a startling call from his ex-wife, who’s in the hospital, awaiting a cancer diagnosis. His mind races as he suddenly realizes he must find out whether she was contaminated by fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Quickly returning to the city, he tries to reconstruct the events of a few days so many years ago, and he revisits and questions his own memories of working in the chilling ‘cold centre’—the air-conditioning plant for the East German Communist Party newspaper. Did she come in contact with a contaminated truck from the Ukraine? Was he a cog at the heart of the system, failing to prevent a tragic accident? Can he find out what happened before it’s too late? He soon begins to lose control over his days in Berlin, beginning a desperate search for orientation over a fracture in his own life—one he has never gotten over.


Inka Parei
Translator: Katy Derbyshire




Seagull Books





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About the Contributors

The author lives in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, with her son, writing and tutoring emerging literary talents. Her novels The Shadow-Boxing Woman (2011), What Darkness Was (2013) and The Cold Centre (2014) are available from Seagull Books.

The translator translates and co-edits no man’s land, an online literary magazine of contemporary German writing in English.


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