June 2019
by Heidi Diehl
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
June 2019
Hardcover, 336 pages
For fans of Meg Wolitzer and Maggie Shipstead: a sweeping debut novel following an American artist who returns to Germany—where she fell in love and had a child decades earlier—to confront her past at her former mother-in-law’s funeral. 

"Lifelines is a true tapestry of a book, intricate and elegantly told, about family and nationhood, and the ways that each generation is shaped by the one that came before it. Diehl writes with a remarkable emotional intelligence..."
—Julia Pierpont, author of Among the Ten Thousand Things and The Little Book of Feminist Saints

"What a graceful, attentive, and beautiful debut. Among Diehl’s abundant gifts are a wonderful eye for the telling detail, a lovely narrative patience, a playful comfort with structural panache, a genuine affection for her characters, and a keen understanding of the ways in which families actually work. The novel thrums with the sadness of life, and also with its comforts."
—George Saunders  

Dear Reader,

Lifelines  is partially set in 1970s Düsseldorf, among artists and musicians making work at a time of dramatic social change, as the postwar generation comes of age and demands an end to Germany’s collective silence about its crimes in the Holocaust. The complexity of this cultural moment struck me as rich material for a novel: the unspoken guilt and shame, the sense of possibility at this time of change. As I researched my book, I was fascinated by the ways that creative experimentation intertwined with the broader call for reckoning and remorse. 

The book moves between 2008 and the 1970s, and between Germany and the United States. For this story about the ways that history and memory influence our lives, that back and forth felt necessary. I wanted to use these different vantage points to trace how the characters’ intimate relationships and creative passions evolve over time, as well as the ways that public and personal history shape their paths. I hope you enjoy.


Heidi Diehl