“Winter on Solupp” by Annika Scheffel: wishes in the changing night – culture

Running across the sea, traveling through time, waking up a sleeping giant – these are three out of seven tasks that have to be mastered. Because then wishes come true, in the short moment between today and tomorrow in the Solupper Night of Change. The “change night” is actually New Year’s Eve, they say New Year’s Eve all over the world, just not on Solupp. Because Solupp is different, Solupp has fallen out of time and somehow out of reality. A little Lummerland-like island somewhere to the north, impossible to find on any map, situated in the fifth cardinal point, with only a handful of people living on it. One of them is Ema.

The 13-year-old girl lives there with her foster mother Jolka, who is lively and lively in summer but so sad in winter that she almost seems to melt into the sofa. Then there’s Joon, the lighthouse keeper, a 15-year-old boy whose origins, like Emas, are obscure. Also at home in this magical place: the ancient siblings Oona and Will. It is not surprising that Will is a former pirate: the improbable seems likely on Solupp, fairytale elements are woven into the story so naturally that one simply accepts them. This also includes Oona’s story about the wish-fulfilling tasks on the Solupper Night of Change.

Despite the homely atmosphere, Scheffel asks big existential questions

But before that, the five-person returns family Happily returned to the island in an adventurous way. She spent a long vacation on Solupp last summer, and Ema, together with Mari, who is the same age, solved the riddle of the strange word “keil cliff”. Joon, in turn, fell in love with Mari’s grumpy but somehow mysterious brother Kurt. The four of them decide to complete the seven tasks.

"Winter on Solupp" by Annika Scheffel: Annika Scheffel: Winter on Solupp.  Thienemann, Stuttgart 2022. 304 pages, 15 euros.  From 10 years on.

Annika Scheffel: Winter on Solupp. Thienemann, Stuttgart 2022. 304 pages, 15 euros. From 10 years on.

(Photo: Thienemann-Esslinger)

With “Winter on Solupp”, the Berlin author Annika Scheffel continues her series about the small, fabulous island and its inhabitants, which she began with “Summer on Solupp” in 2021. The second volume is ostensibly about the fulfillment of the alternating night wishes, but behind it Scheffel asks big existential questions: What is home? where do i belong Who am I? Although the author doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, she creates a real feel-good book with “Winter auf Solupp”. Jolka’s depression is not played down, Scheffel impressively describes what the illness is doing to Jolka and what effects it has on Ema. But because Ema is such a life-affirming girl and we read the story from her perspective, the narrative doesn’t focus on Jolka’s sadness. Which, by the way, occasionally disappears during the Fröhlichs’ visit.

Scheffel pays no more attention to the homosexual, tentatively developing love story between Joon and Kurt than she probably would have given to a heterosexual teenage love affair between two supporting characters. The other characters, above all Kurt’s parents or Jolka, don’t seem to find anything special about the fact that the two boys don’t fall in love with girls. This side-telling makes Joon and Kurt’s sexual orientation perfectly normal. Much more books like this are needed.

The good thing: there will be another one soon. “Frühling auf Solupp”, the third volume in the series, will be published at the end of February.

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