Read | 31. Aug 2022

If You Only Read One Book this Summer... should be one with the word "Schnee" on the cover.

Sometimes it takes years until an author finds his way to me. Actually, I had heard about Ralf Rothmann every now and then but did not read any of his successful books until I finished the review by Adam Soboczynski in "DIE ZEIT". Soboczynski is my favorite critic, I trust him for that excellent mix of highest quality standards and his selection of simply well written and quite catching novels.

The books of Ralf Rothmann deal with the author´s personal history of growing up in Western Germany after the war, as the son of poor farm workers from the North who had to move to the South Western coal mine area to survive.

"Die Nacht unterm Schnee" is the final part of a trilogy about his famliy and their roots - the two earlier books have been translated into English already.

Normally preferring female writers when it comes to female characters and their emotions - with Ralf Rothmann I found unheard-of-sensibility describing deepest emotions and most traumatic situations of heroines Elsbeth and Luise.

Would I have ever expected a man to understand the specific humiliation of rape? Certainly not.

As always I bought the audible version as well and switching between narrators Nina Petri and Markus Hoffmann helped me even more to get into those different mind sets.

All of Rothmann´s books are bestsellers - as are those of Elena Ferrante, both published in Germany by traditional publishing house Suhrkamp. Maybe not accidentally - Ferrante and Rothmann are soul siblings: Their poor backgrounds, growing up in post-war-working-class environment - even the similiaritiy between certain quarters and their population in Naples and Oberhausen are obvious.

Okay, maybe the sun is shining more often in Southern Italy - but still...