Hermann, Judith 1970–
Hermann, Judith 1970–
PERSONAL: Born 1970, in Berlin, Germany. Education: Attended journalism school.
ADDRESSES: Home—Berlin, Germany. Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Freelance journalist and writer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Kleist prize, 2001, for Sommerhaus später; recipient of writing grant.
Sommerhaus später (stories), S. Fischer (Frankfurt, Germany), 1998, translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo as Summerhouse, Later, Ecco Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Nichts als Gespenster (stories; title means "Nothing but Ghosts"), S. Fischer (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: German writer Judith Hermann's award-winning short-story collection Sommerhaus später, which was translated as Summerhouse, Later, focuses on the generation of Berliners who grew up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some of the characters remember the past, like the young woman in "The Red Coral Bracelet" who, during a therapy session, describes how her great-grandmother's husband killed her lover in a duel. Only two of the stories in the collection do not take place in Berlin. Harald Leusmann, who reviewed the German edition for World Literature Today, wrote that Hermann's characters "drift through the amusement clubs of Berlin—skinny, hungry, and frozen young men and women in their thin plastic and trash collector's outfit, ready for a rave like those dressed in artificial silk in the good old, bad old days." Leusmann further commented that Hermann shows her characters "in the mirror of her moral judgment; she sends strangers out into night landscapes—exotic foreigners, lost souls, working-class people."
Many of the relationships in these stories are offbeat. In "Sonia," for instance, an artist is intrigued by an odd, chain-smoking woman; an older single man has problems communicating with a young woman in "Hunter Johnson Music." New York Times Book Review reviewer Melanie Rehak commented that Hermann "achieves a fullness that seems almost magically spun out of the dead air of her settings; she's a master at capturing what teems beneath placid surfaces."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2002, review of Summerhouse, Later, p. 126.
New York Times Book Review, April 21, 2002, Melanie Rehak, review of Summerhouse, Later, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly, April 1, 2002, review of Summerhouse, Later, p. 52.
World Literature Today, spring, 1999, Harald Leusmann, review of Sommerhaus später, p. 323.
Granta Online, http://www.granta.com/ (January 9, 2006), profile of Judith Hermann.
Internationales Literaturfestival Web site, http://www.literaturfestival.com/ (January 9, 2006), profile of Judith Hermann.