The palm tree in the front yard (Im Vorgarten der Palme)

188 pages


Eagerly awaited, Bernhard Strobel’s first novel strikes a dry and ironic note. His subtle, intimate portrayal of suburban life reveals what happens when a hint of mistrust creeps into an idyll.

»Congratulations, K.« This seemingly harmless message to Leidegger sparks a violent argument between him and his wife Martina. Theoretically, the two of them could lead a life of pure bliss, with their own house in the suburbs, a new-born daughter and, last but not least, a palm tree in their front yard. Little by little, however, the couple’s relationship turns into a kind of static warfare, full of reproaches and excuses.

Is it sad or rather funny? Is it a tragedy or a bitter comedy how Leidegger and Martina wear each other down slowly? It is a thin line between these two extremes, as this dry and ironic novel goes to show.


»Bernhard Strobel manages with the cold view of a surgeon to capture even the smallest proliferation in the mesh of a relationship. His novel is an interpersonal psycho-thriller.«
(Ulrich Rüdenauer, Süddeutsche Zeitung)

»The novel evolves into a bizarre psycho-comedy. Bernhard Strobels felicitous first novel shows subtle descriptions of the everyday life that is at the edge of lunacy.« (Wolfgang Schneider, Deutschlandfunk Büchermarkt)

»An exceptional and special novel about the power of thoughts.« (Nicole Lehmann, Herzensangelegenheit Buch)