The Neighbours
Am Schwarzen Berg

anna katharina hahn am schwarzen berg
Suhrkamp Verlag
March 2012 / 236pp

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The Neighbours is a searching social novel in the tradition of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks. What’s more, it’s very funny.

The Bubs, Emil and Veronika, consider themselves free-spirited intellectuals and are childless. Hajo and Carla Raus, meanwhile, are as bourgeois as their next-door neighbours are bohemian. It soon becomes clear, however, that all four of them have rested their hopes on Peter, the married son of Hajo and Carla. How his story plays out will dictate how they view their own lives. The novel begins when a distraught Peter moves back in with his parents. Peter’s sorry state is the result of the sudden dissolution of his family. His wife, who grew up in considerably less idyllic circumstances than Peter, has had enough of his lax attitude. All this is slowly revealed to Emil, Veronika, Hajo and Carla, whose own foibles and petty affairs are detailed along the way.

Hahn renders her characters in such a way that their flaws gradually become more apparent to the reader. She is unsparing in her criticism even as she demonstrates her affection for them. The tragedy of the novel is partly the result of these characters’ blindness to the faults that Hahn reveals.

about the author

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. She was awarded the Clemens Brentano Prize in 2005 for her novel Kavaliersdelikt (‘Petty Crime’) . She has won numerous prizes, and Am schwarzen Berg is nominated for this years Leipzig Book Fair prize.

rights information

Suhrkamp Verlag Berlin
Tel: +49 30 740744 230
Contact: Petra Hardt 

Suhrkamp Verlag was founded in 1950 by Peter Suhrkamp and directed for over forty years by Dr. Siegfried Unseld. Suhrkamp focuses on both contemporary literature and the humanities. Its distinguished list includes leading writers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, many of whom made their debuts with the firm, besides major international authors of both fiction and non-fiction.

translation assistance

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut.

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