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June 14 , 2008

Nothing but Ghosts


The brilliant second collection of stories from Germany’s answer to Zadie Smith. Judith Hermann’s first collection, ‘The Summer House, Later’, sold 250,000 hardbacks in Germany, and was shortlisted for both the IMPAC award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Judith Hermann's first book, ‘The Summer House, Later’ was described as ‘a book about a certain kind of young woman, trying to get a boyfriend, to get some fun out of life, but with a sense of melancholy and a sense of loneliness that seems to define a generation’. Now in Hermann’s second collection, ‘Nothing but Ghosts’, that generation has moved on, grown up perhaps, and the women have indeed found boyfriends but the relationships, described here with painstaking honesty, are all on the turn in some way and have passed their first flush of romantic love. We join many of these characters just as they have stopped communicating; the talking has stopped and the women, with their lives in stasis, have become watchful and disappointed and are starting to turn their gaze elsewhere…

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