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Anna Katharina Hahn

My Mother's Dress - Novel

(German title: Das Kleid meiner Mutter)
ca. 311 pages
Clothbound
2016
Anna Katharina Hahn
Foto: Anna Katharina Hahn
© Jürgen Bauer

Anna Katharina Hahn was born in 1970 and studied German and English literature, as well as Folklore in Hamburg. She lived in Berlin for several years and now lives and writes in Stuttgart.

Her previous works include the collection of stories Kavaliersdelikt, for which she was awarded the Clemens Brentano Prize in 2005, as well as the novel Kürzere Tage, which was longlisted for the German Book Prize in 2009. In 2010, Anna Katharina Hahn has been awarded with the Heimito von Doderer Literary Award.

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Arabic world rights (Sefsafa)

About

Madrid in the summer of 2012: the repercussions of the latest economic crisis are blatantly obvious in the capital. The young woman Ana María, called Anita, belongs to the »lost generation« that is being denied every possibility of a self-determined existence. Her brother, with a PhD in German studies, has moved on to Berlin to make a living off construction work. Out of necessity, Anita has moved back into her childhood home.

The only things that provide her with stability are her family and her friends, who share her fate of chronic unemployment, and the regular demonstrations on the Puerta del Sol in the heart of the overheated capital. But everything bad can become worse: One day, Anita’s parents are found dead in their shared apartment. Without intending to, Anita becomes entangled in her mother’s life. All she has to do is slip into one of her mother’s dresses and everyone – even her mother’s mysterious German lover – mistakes her for Blanca. Whose everyday life is much more exciting than could ever have imagined: »It felt good to be my mother. I was beautiful, in a way that was strange to me… I even saw some women’s faces light up.«

In her third novel, Anna Katharina Hahn boldly targets one of the most pressing problems of our times: My Mother’s Dress is a fantastic generational and romantic novel from the times of the Euro crisis and at the same time, it is poetic global theatre that moves between Spain, Berlin and Stuttgart. In the end, almost all the loose threads seem to point towards a writer shrouded in mystery, who is said to stop at nothing. But maybe this is also a mere illusion.

Praise

»This is more than a mere showpiece that leaves behind many of the tense contemporary acts of recent German literature with the greatest of ease.« Helmut Böttiger, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»In a very simple, undramatic style, Anna Katharina Hahn develops a great European tableau, a romantic world theatre, from a story of daily life in Madrid and we learn: life exists, but only in the now!« Denis Scheck, daserste.de; ARD

»The book invites its interpretation […] a literary mystery game […] the transformation of the parents into dolls is an ingenious idea.« Ina Hartwig, 3sat Buchzeit

»It takes technical skill and clear, lucid language to keep all of these narrative threads together. Anna Katharina Hahn accomplished this.« Christoph Schröder, taz. die tageszeitung

»It’s commendable how the author furnishes the bitter with subtle humour and how she lends an air of secrecy to tristesse.« Irmtraud Gutschke, Neues Deutschland

»Anna Katharina Hahn’s novel is both diagnosis of society and portrait of a generation, its playfulness does not obstruct either of these.« Elmar Krekeler, DIE WELT

»Anna Katharina Hahn proves herself to be a great narrator.« Andreas Platthaus, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»A phantastic love and generational novel in times of the Eurocrisis […] funny, ironic and occasionally almost surreal.« Karin Gramling, SWR

»A book about the performative power of literature […] a way of de-idealising parental figures – exemplarily executed.« Svenja Flaßpöhler, 3sat Buchzeit

Media

Anna Katharina Hahn reads from My Mother's Dress:

 

Other publications

Am Schwarzen Berg/Black Mountain Side (2012)

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Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Griot)

Kürzere Tage/Shorter Days (2009)

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English world rights digital (Frisch & Co.), Finland (Lurra)

Domestic Rights Sales:  German Stage Adaptation (Staatstheater Stuttgart)