“We Should Have Told Each Other Everything” by Judith Herrmann – Reviews and Recommendations

“We Should Have Told Each Other Everything” by Judith Herrmann – Reviews and Recommendations

Judith Herrmann debuted with the story collection “Sommerhus, Later” in 2000.

It perfectly captured the sense of life that prevailed in the inner city neighborhoods of the German capital in the 1990s.

Young people in dilapidated apartment blocks. Conversations in coffee shops, where you can barely make the person you’re talking to through the cigarette smoke.

Conversations of the kind that never ends, only continuing when afternoon turns into evening.

It was this atmosphere that Judith Herrmann was able to recreate, and suddenly a completely new tone appeared in post-war German literature.

Book cover

Brackdepot: “Sommerhus, Later” came out in 1998 and established Judith Herrmann as an overnight star, in large part because…

Literary critic Marcel Rich-Ranicki put forward August 18.  2000 in Salzburg for the photographer.  Reich-Ranicki am Samstag hat, 4 Sept.  2004, in Frankfurt/Main Medien- und Kommunikationspreis der Europaeischen Kulturstiftung erhalten.  (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

Important: …the legendary critic Marcel Rich-Ranicki bragged about it on his TV show “Das Literarisches Quartett”.

Best selling lectures

in “We should have told each other everything ‘we’ll be back there’.” For each of these young people, a summer home.

But this time Hermann does it differently. She gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the composition.

She takes us to him actual the summer house, and some real people who in various ways served as models for the stories she told.

The starting point for the book was an invitation from Goethe University in Frankfurt to hold the so-called Frankfurter Poetikvorlesung.

Not everyone gets that invitation.

What I think is extraordinary is that these lectures, where the author has to say something about how she wrote them, have become bestsellers. This time it happened.

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He meets the psychiatrist on the night stand

the book It starts late at night outside of what Berliners call “SpätiSplendidly translated by Safir Dahl as “The Night Booth.”

Judith and a fellow writer are searching for cigarettes. There she meets her psychiatrist from many years ago, with whom she had previously only sat on the sofa and talked.

And here already the narrative begins to vibrate. It is as if what we hear is almost crying out for explanation.

Who is this psychiatrist in this context?

Is it a code reader? As a silent listener who takes in what the author chooses to say?

Because even when lying on the sofa, isn’t it right for the author to say “everything”?

What does the author choose to say? What do you choose to hide?

Grow west of the wall

And so it continues, one poignant and lucid scene after another.

Instead of talking about how it was written, she shows it.

It moves instantly when she talks about growing up with her mom, dad and grandmother west of the wall in Neukölln district.

The father suffers from depression and spends several years in a psychiatric institution. It is the mother who earns money, but she has very little time left for her daughter.

«Sometimes I got the impression that I only imagined my motherHermann writes.

Beat this literature sentence Spring 2023!

A doll with secrets

The interesting thing here is that Herrmann writes individual scenes that constantly point in two directions.

The starting point is personal, but personal points towards the technical and aesthetic side.

An example of this is the dollhouse that her father built for her. With secret rooms.

We can partially interpret this as a picture of how things are in this family.

But this is equally about what literature is. The story is a dolls house with hidden rooms.

The reader fills the rooms with his experience. He inserts his own characters into the rooms.

Watching the Holocaust on TV

Behind these familial descriptions of temperament, we also see features of a larger picture.

This happens, among other things, when she and her father go to her grandmother’s house to watch the TV series “The Holocaust”, which was shown on television in Germany (and Norway) in 1979.

German writers devoted many pages to the great talk about German historical guilt in two world wars.

Judith Herrmann needs no more than a few paragraphs, and then we see the divided city in which she grew up, the walls and watchtowers before us.

populated, many of whom had close relations with those who encouraged Hitler during the war.

As an analogue to the family in which Hermann grew up, there is the family she chose herself as a young adult.

A group of friends, in the case of Judith Herrmann. Together they find a few summers at the summer house she has inherited on the coast of northern Germany.

Before they disappear too, and then the author is left alone with a son on his way out of the nest.

Take off the veil

In this autobiographical novel, she removes the narrative veil. she also.

Like so many others these days. She is one of many who, for lack of better terms, strive for what I call the diary.

Per Peterson didn’t get to write a novel, and wrote the journal Mitt Abruzzo. When I read this book I felt something was missing. I missed the novels.

In his latest set in Italy, Hanne Ørstavik almost imposes a kind of understanding that behind the scenes, yes, now this is the movie itself.

And now Judith Herrmann comes up with a behind-the-scenes movie, which in some ways is superior to the movie itself.

She wrote her life story figuratively and literally.


I read and review the literature at NRK. Please read my review of “Kairos” by Jenny Erpenbeck, “Details” by Aya Genberg, or “The Process” by Franz Kafka translated by John Foss.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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