Inspired by Petra Kelly, the original Green Party leader and political activist who fought for the planet in 1980s Germany, Shaena Lambert brings us a captivating new novel about a woman who changed history and transformed environmental politics–and who, like many history-changing women, has been largely erased. Award-winning novelist Madeleine Thien calls Petra “a masterpiece–a fierce, humane and powerful novel for our times.”
January, 1980. At the height of the Cold War, Petra Kelly inspires hundreds of thousands to take to the streets to protest the placement of nuclear missiles on West German soil–including a NATO general named Emil Gerhardt, who shocks the establishment by converting to the cause. Petra and her general not only vault to fame as the stars of the Green Party, but they also fall in love. Then Manfred Schwartz, an ex-lover, urges Petra to draw back the curtain on Emil’s war record, and they enter a world both complicated and threatening.
Told by Manfred Schwartz, from his place in a present world even more beset by existential threats, Petra is an exploration of love, jealousy, and the power of social change. A woman capable of founding a new and world-changing politics and taking on two superpowers, Petra still must grapple with her own complex nature and a singular and fatal love.