In this novel, Schibli portrays a woman looking for her place in the social fabric of her environment and sensitively depicts the movements of attraction and repulsion, appropriation and distancing between two sisters who cannot do without each other and therefore have to find a way to live together and next to each other.
The book tells the story of Anna who moved to Zurich from Graubünden to study biology. Now she works in lichen research. Leta, Anna’s identical twin sister, is dedicated to photography. When Anna drives to Treviso for the opening of Leta’s photo installation “Observing the Self”, she feels betrayed by her. Because Leta has retouched the only mark in Anna’s photos that distinguishes the two.
Who am I if there are two of me? Anna, outwardly indistinguishable from her identical twin sister Leta, has always been asking herself the question of her own identity. After their childhood together in Bever in Graubünden, the sisters brought spatial distance between themselves, pursued very different professions and did not maintain close contact with one another. Both, however, look at the world through a sharp lens - that of the microscope and that of the camera - with an almost obsessive urge to observe, research and collect.
Anna collects lichens, examples of perfectly symbiotic communities in nature, Leta for her part collects photos - of Anna.
“The special art of this book is not to judge, to leave the doors open, to look deeply close - as it should be for a lichen researcher - and to look for the distance by looking at a nearby surface until it opens,” critic Friederike Kretzen wrote in Laudation GEDOK-Förderpreis.