Monday 19 December 2022

Hermann, Judith "The Summerhouse, Later"

Hermann, Judith "The Summerhouse, Later" (German: Sommerhaus, später) - 1998

These short stories mainly take place in Germany. As the description says, there are nine different characters, each with a different life. There's a taxi driver. And a young woman who remembers her great-grandmother. People like you and me who live in Berlin. An interesting mix. But anyone who knows me will also know what I think of it. Nine individual books would have been better.

Book Description:

"'The little jewellery box also held the red coral bracelet from Nikolai Sergeyevich. Its six hundred and seventy-five little coral beads were strung onto a silken thread, and they glowed as red as rage. My great-grandmother put the hairbrush down in her lap. She closed her eyes for a long time. Then she opened her eyes again, took the red coral bracelet from the little box and fastened it around her left wrist. Her skin was very white. That evening, for the first time in three years, she shared a meal with my great-grandfather.'

Coral bracelets 'as red as rage' from Russian lovers; a sad old woman who nonetheless 'sometimes sang and winked with her left eye and laughed till the tears came’; country houses ‘away from Berlin, linden trees out front, chestnuts in the back, sky above':
'The Summer House, Later' is an elegant, measured, reflective collection of stories which captures beautifully the promise of bright colours lying just out of reach of our grey daily routines.

Set in and around Europe's fastest-growing, fastest-living city, these stories take as their starting point the monotony of modern urban life - the endless antennas and chimneys, the pigeons in the gutters - and looks beyond them to 'the narrow strip of sky over the rooftops'. The literary sensation of the year in her native Germany, Judith Hermann is a wonderfully talented young writer whose ability to find drama and beauty in the smallest, most trivial moments makes
'The Summer House, Later' a very special debut indeed."

"In nine luminous stories of love and loss, loneliness and hope, Judith Hermann's stunning debut collection paints a vivid and poignant picture of a generation ready and anxious to turn their back on the past, to risk uncertainty in search of a fresh, if fragile, equilibrium. An international bestseller and translated into twelve languages, 'The Summerhouse, Later' heralds the arrival of one of Germanys most arresting new literary talents."


  1. I do prefer books to short stories.

    1. One more thing we have in common, Lark. Why am I not surprised?