Caging Skies: A Novel (Paperback)
The inspiration for JOJO RABBIT, winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, by director Taika Waititi, and nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
An extraordinary, strikingly original novel that reveals a world of truth and lies both personal and political, Caging Skies is told through the eyes of Johannes Betzler, avid member of the Hitler Youth during World War II. Filled with admiration for the Führer and Nazi ideals, he is shocked to discover his parents are hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa behind a false wall in their home in Vienna.
After he’s disfigured in a raid, Johannes focuses more and more on his connection with the girl behind the wall. His initial horror and revulsion turn to interest—and then obsession. After his parents disappear, Johannes is the only one aware of Elsa’s existence in the house, and he alone is responsible for her fate. Drawing strength from his daydreams about Hitler, Johannes plans for the end of the war and what it might mean for him and Elsa.
The inspiration for the major film Jojo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi, Caging Skies, sold in twenty-two countries, is a work of rare power; a stylistic and storytelling triumph. Startling, blackly comic, and written in Christine Leunens’s gorgeous, muscular prose, this novel, her US debut, is singular and unforgettable.
About the Author
Christine Leunens is the author of three novels translated into more than fifteen languages. Her novel Caging Skies is an international bestseller, sold in sixteen countries and the basis for a major new film by director Taika Waititi. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, she’s spent most of her life in Europe and now lives in New Zealand. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. A former model, Leunens was the face of Givenchy, Paco Rabanne, Nina Ricci, and others.
“Leunens is a strong writer, her prose supple and darkly engaging. Her depiction of wartime Vienna is nearly cinematic and utterly convincing. . . . A dark, disturbing novel . . . Vivid prose.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“A vivid and deeply compelling novel, Caging Skiesis an existential battle of moral and ethical extremes. Christine Leunens is an adept and eloquent storyteller.”
— Georgia Hunter
“A beautiful novel, powerful, different, and ambitious. It explores . . . a love so total that it locks up, isolates, and colonizes the partner. An unforgettable book.”
— Le Monde
"A bold novel of great fierceness, insight, and emotional savagery. I admire Leunens's refusal to soft-soap anything, even as, while reading, I had to put the book down and pace around the room. But if you stick with Caging Skies, you'll get an entire era distilled into two people, a Tolstoyan marvel."
— Historical Novel Society
“One wonders why this beautiful, strange, and terrible subject had never been taken up before . . . the book fascinates and leaves a rare impression of strangeness and power.”
— Le Nouvel Observateur