Read | 01. Jul 2021

Ciao - About The End Of An Error

Johanna Adorjan belongs to a group of writers who forever felt like "next generation" even though those now forty-five to fifty-five year olds are already followed by at least two more generations of writers. But maybe that is just me.

Because: When I started to work as an editor in the early Nineties after a lengthy period of studies in literature and history of arts, stupid assistant jobs and bad-paid-junior-assignments - a much younger group of writers and photographers entered the media - fresh from nowhere, most of them without any serious education - but with tons of talent.

And the ambition to rather not play by the rules.

They were hired by all kinds of national magazines and so called serious Feuilletons - refreshing those left behind sections with their racy opinions and unheard language. Johanna Adorjan was one of them. She was still in her Twenties when she became a member of the highest regarded newspaper team at Frankfurter Allgemeine SonntagsZeitung.

But it wasn´t before I tripped over an ariticle at praiseworthy New York Times Book Review that I realized that Adorjan was also capable of entering a new sphere: when writing about her family´s history.

"An Exlusive Love" was translated into 16 languages and marks a very different point in Adorjan´s personal career as it is a memoir and not a novel, but still lovely and literally written, private and brave at the same time. "This book tells the story of Vera and István, who survive the Holoaust as Hungarian jews, fled to Denmark during the 1956 uprising from Budapest and committed suicide in Copenhagen in 1991. They were found hand in hand in their bed. It is the story of an unusual love. The story of my grandparents."

In those years that followed that instant success Adorjan started to write novels, mostly located in her own world, packed with so called creatives - actors, desginers, architects, writers - very well observed and quite entertaining.

Her point of view as a woman of her generation and also moving within that so called "Berlin scene" allowed the reader to gain what felt like an inside view into those circles. Solid women magazine footage with an urban twist

These days working for Süddeutsche Zeitung, another one of Germany´s well regarded newspapers, Johanna Adorjan produces an instagram account under her own name that delivers more content than any other independent magazine I know.

Go check it out!

Now there is a new book coming out, another page turner, so well written you actually do not care for the clichéed personnel (also because you know they are really excisting): A middle aged "white old man", his emotionally and intellectually frustrated wife, their vegan activist teenage daughter, one feminist influencer, one worn out TV presenter, a bunch of editors and their assistants.

"Ciao" is kind of a swan song to an era and to a so called interpreative sovereignity of a certain caste and their privileges.

The funny thing is that it is her very own generation Adorjan is writing about, and it seems those people felt so very much forever young that they did not see the writing on the wall regarding their own destiny.

And just like that, in a moment´s notice, they are the past. Moreover: That moment does not mark the end of an era, but the end of an error.

While reading you mitght start to wonder if Adorjan is part of that caste as well or just a bystander.

Let´s just say she is neither old nor a man. And even within her generation that let her belong to a completely different caste.