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A story of the shattering impact of war on one
family, The Vanishing Sky is a deeply moving portrait of why decent, caring people falter when confronted by evil.



About the book

They’ve wrecked the world, these men, and still they’re not done. They’d take the sky if they could.

Germany, 1945, and the bombs are falling. In Heidenfeld, Etta and her husband Josef roam an empty nest: their eldest son Max is fighting on the frontlines, while fifteen-year-old Georg has swapped books for guns at a Nürnberg school for the Hitler Youth. At home, news of the war provokes daily doses of fear as the planes grow closer, taking one city after the next.

When Max is unexpectedly discharged, Etta is relieved to have her eldest home and safe. But soon after he arrives, it’s clear that the boy who left is not the same returned. With Georg a hundred miles away and a husband confronting his own difficult feelings toward patriotic duty, Etta alone must gather the pieces of a splintering family, determined to hold them together in the face of an uncertain future.



About the author

L. Annette Binder was born in Germany and moved to the US as a child. Her short fiction collection Rise received the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, and her fiction has also appeared in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, among others.

The Vanishing Sky is her first novel and is inspired by her family’s experience in Second World War Germany. She lives in New England.





‘So fiercely imagined, so wondrously conjured, that what you hold not only pulls you into its history but into a world of pure yearning, determination, struggle and hope. This is a story—in all its rich layers—that dazzles, breaks your heart, clutches you and gets you back up again. I’m grateful to have experienced it, and grateful to Binder for the gift she has given us’—Paul Yoon, author of The Mountain

‘In her intimate and epic debut novel, L. Annette Binder lifts the lid on one family’s darkest story to offer vital insight into daily life under the last days of the Third Reich. The Vanishing Sky is a heartrending and blazingly lucid depiction of Nazi Germany as not a simple monolith of evil but as an oppressive, fanatical political regime that was encountered, accommodated, rejected, and survived by ordinary people, people just like you and me’—Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking

‘The challenge in humanising the Western world’s most tortured history proves no match for Binder’s intellect, compassion, and unflinching gaze; one gets the feeling this writer, in the stunning precision of her painterly details, would prove virtuosic with any material she was handed to use. A hugely ambitious novel whose consummate, patient artistry is moving beyond measure’—Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves

A Time to Love and a Time to Die by Erich Maria Remarque has always been one of my favourite books, and Reunion by Fred Uhlman I consider a masterpiece, so it was with great pleasure that I read The Vanishing Sky, which told the same story from a completely different angle’—Jeffrey Archer

‘L. Annette Binder is a stunningly talented writer. Her stories are the stories of outsiders, gripping and heartfelt, heightened with hidden undertones of the surreal. It is this tension that makes the worlds she creates so vibrant, and allows her readers to see so deeply into these characters’ souls’—Hannah Tinti, author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley


A message from the author


Sample chapters

Click here to read the dazzling first two chapters of The Vanishing Sky.


Reading copy giveaway

Be one of the first people to read The Vanishing Sky! For your chance to win one of 20 reading copies, email with ‘THE VANISHING SKY’ in the subject line.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

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