In Free Fall
The gripping international bestseller that fuses an ingenious detective tale with stunning, cinematic storytelling—and a provocative riff on quantum physics—from Germany’s foremost young literary talent.
A child is kidnapped but does not know it. One man dies, two physicists fight, and a senior constable falls in love. In the end, everything is different . . . yet exactly the same.” —Prologue
A rising star who has garnered some of Europe’s most important literary prizes, Juli Zeh has established herself as the new master of the philosophical thriller. With In Free Fall, she now takes us on a fast-paced ride through deadly rivalry and love’s infinite configurations.
Against the backdrop of Germany and Switzerland, two physicists begin a dangerous dance of distrust. Friends since their university days, when they were aspiring Nobel Prize candidates, they now interact in an atmosphere of tension, stoked by Oskar’s belief that Sebastian fell into mediocrity by having a family. When Sebastian’s son, Liam, is apparently kidnapped, their fragile friendship is further tested. Entrusted with uncovering the truth, Detective Superintendent Schilf discerns a web of blackmail, while at the same time the reality of his personal life falls into doubt. Unfolding in a series of razor-sharp scenes, In Free Fall is a riveting novel of ideas from a major new literary voice. With the recent success of works in translation, such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, Zeh is poised to take off.
The theoretical physics concept known as the Many-Worlds Interpretation, in which everything that is at all possible exists somewhere, forms the backdrop for Zeh's second novel (after Eagles and Angels), an engrossing if enigmatic story of a murder and its aftermath. German physicists Oskar and Sebastian are both friends and rivals, who have drifted apart after the latter's marriage. While Sebastian is driving his 10-year-old son to camp, the boy disappears during a stop at a gas station. When a woman phones Sebastian and tells him, Dabbelink must go, he interprets this to mean that to obtain his kidnapped son's freedom, he must get rid of Dabbelink, a bicycling companion of his wife linked to a medical scandal. Erudite digressions and vivid characters such as a detective with a trusting nature who learns always to assume the opposite of what she was thinking combine with a devastating 11th-hour reveal to make a memorable intellectual thriller.