Set at a lakeside summer camp for youths in Sweden, the staff is composed of drop-outs, nature freaks, adventure seekers-rootless wanderers from the German east, who since the fall of the Wall have been perpetually living as citizens of a non-existent country, as foreigners in their own land. They come to this stretch of nature to escape civilization, to forget their precarious future, and pretend the past doesn't exist. The action is seen through the eyes of the androgynous first person narrator Anja, an unemployed lighting technician for a rundown theater, who has come to escape the small town misery of her past, and the frightening sense she is becoming a loser. The other main characters are Ralf, an ex-border patrolman haunted by the break-up of his marriage, Svenja, a medical school drop-out from the west, Sabine, the "half-Indian", who spent time in America with a shaman, and a scattering of other "wanderers" from both sides of the invisible divide.Into this idyll comes a mysterious stranger, a woman who literally emerges from the lake, and immediately addresses Anja as her long lost love "Schmoll," a ship boy. Anja is mesmerized by the young woman and finds herself drawn into a confusing and seductive web of fiction that puts her at odds with the other members of the camp. In the course of the story, Anja not only metamorphoses into the ship boy for fleeting moments, but the two transform from thirty-something year olds to being sixteen and experiencing love for the first time. This blurring of the border-of age and gender-this metamorphosis is portrayed as a realistic event that occurs solely through language and stories, and it is not cast as a fantasy or fairytale. As the worlds of the women and the camp collide, the summer idyll unravels and turns violent, revealing the underlying tensions, violence and fissures of this closed off microcosm of society. Fear and destruction threaten not only the women's attempt to escape from accepted social agreements and perceptions, but also their reality. Alternately described as a love story, crime novel and society novel rolled into one, this "linguistic tour de force" FAZ, succeeds in creating a new literary language for love.