I Wish, I Wish

Zirk van den Berg


A darkly comic novella with a tender heart.

Shortlisted for the NZ Booklovers Awards 2021
Winner of the WA Hofmeyr Prize.

ISBN: 978-1-98-859528-3 Categories: , , , Tags: ,

About the book

As a mortician, Seb has mastered the art of making the dead resemble the living. He’s embalmed countless corpses, unpacked organs, reset bones and made up pallid faces for their final viewing. If he’s honest, he prefers the company of the deceased – no surprises and nobody to witness his inadequacy. But they don’t make for great work stories – nothing for his teenage children to look up to or to attract the waning interest of his wife.

It looks like another humdrum day at White Lily Funerals when Seb meets Gabe, a dying boy unusually interested in caskets, who forces the mortician to rearrange the pieces of his life and shows him that magic doesn’t have to be just a wish.

A darkly comic tale with a tender heart, I Wish, I Wish was awarded the prestigious WA Hofmeyr Prize for outstanding writing that shifts the boundaries of Afrikaans literature.

About the author

Zirk van den Berg is a New Zealand author who has published award-winning writing in Afrikaans and English. His crime novel Nobody Dies was named one of the top five thrillers by the New Zealand Herald in 2004. Since 2013, he has published a further five books in South Africa and translated many more. His short fiction has been widely anthologised.

Born in Namibia, Zirk moved to New Zealand in 1998. He lives in Auckland and works as a freelance business writer.


No-Brainer (Say Books NZ)
Nobody Dies (Random House NZ)
Parts Unknown (Kwela SA)
Half of One Thing (Penguin SA)


Dimensions: 110 x 175 mm
Number of pages: 182
Binding: soft cover

Look inside

Click the thumbnail below to see inside and read an extract: