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The Summer House, Later
Judith Hermann

The Summer House, Later
Judith Hermann

Margot Bettauer Dembo

The bestselling voice of Europe’s fastest-growing, fastest-living city: the new Berlin.‘The little jewellery box also held the red coral bracelet from Nikolai Sergeyevich. Its six hundred and seventy-five little coral beads were strung onto a silken thread, and they glowed as red as rage. My great-grandmother put the hairbrush down in her lap. She closed her eyes for a long time. Then she opened her eyes again, took the red coral bracelet from the little box and fastened it around her left wrist. Her skin was very white. That evening, for the first time in three years, she shared a meal with my great-grandfather.’Coral bracelets ‘as red as rage’ from Russian lovers; a sad old woman who nonetheless ‘sometimes sang and winked with her left eye and laughed till the tears came’; country houses ‘away from Berlin, linden trees out front, chestnuts in the back, sky above’: ‘The Summer House, Later’ is an elegant, measured, reflective collection of stories which captures beautifully the promise of bright colours lying just out of reach of our grey daily routines.Set in and around Europe’s fastest-growing, fastest-living city, these stories take as their starting point the monotony of modern urban life – the endless antennas and chimneys, the pigeons in the gutters – and looks beyond them to ‘the narrow strip of sky over the rooftops’. The literary sensation of the year in her native Germany, Judith Hermann is a wonderfully talented young writer whose ability to find drama and beauty in the smallest, most trivial moments makes ‘The Summer House, Later’ a very special debut indeed.

JUDITH HERMANN

The Summer House, Later

Translated from the German by

Margot Bettauer Dembo

Copyright (#ulink_9802d673-1127-5ecd-8cb4-480489c17567)

These stories are works of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in them are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

Fourth Estate

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published in Great Britain by Flamingo 2001

First published in German by S. Fischer Verlag as Sommerhaus, Später 1998

Copyright © S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt-am-Main 1998

Copyright in English translation © Margot Bettauer Dembo 2001

Judith Hermann asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

Margot Bettauer Dembo asserts the moral right to be identified as the translator of this work

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication.

Source ISBN: 9780007115754

Ebook Edition © NOVEMBER 2012 ISBN: 9780007396962

Version: 2016-08-10

Contents

Cover (#u81f4a334-fe29-5c86-8227-6ec13f47063c)

Title Page (#u6b315a9c-7d34-5e06-883c-2bbd0a660c9d)

Copyright (#uc2ba8b90-8c4e-5325-826a-6c2ab56b7b21)

Dedication (#u65924d89-6903-5d04-bfb6-6ed82fca3e32)

The Red Coral Bracelet (#u4d3ba086-b62f-5d77-8256-9910fa3b2ddb)

Hurricane (Something Farewell) (#u7b850c0d-5c9e-5f5a-80c1-cf82f8845ff4)

Sonja (#litres_trial_promo)

The End of Something (#litres_trial_promo)

Bali Woman (#litres_trial_promo)

Hunter Tompson Music (#litres_trial_promo)

The Summer House, Later (#litres_trial_promo)

Camera Obscura (#litres_trial_promo)

This Side of the Oder (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Praise (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Dedication (#ucbaefeac-e18d-5e05-9190-8f32eb35fb2c)

For F.M. and M.M.

The doctor says, I’ll be alright but I’m feeling blue

Tom Waits

The Red Coral Bracelet (#ulink_4511bfdd-3001-56c4-bbb0-5e27c01249b6)

My first and only visit to a therapist cost me my red coral bracelet and my lover.

The red coral bracelet came from Russia. To be more precise, it came from St Petersburg and was more than a hundred years old. My great-grandmother had worn it on her left wrist; it cost my great-grandfather his life. Is that the story I want to tell? I’m not sure. Not really sure—

My great-grandmother was beautiful. She went to Russia with my great-grandfather because my great-grandfather was building furnaces there for the Russian people. My great-grandfather rented a large apartment for my great-grandmother on Vasilevsky Ostrov, one of the islands of St Petersburg. The Greater and the Lesser Neva lapped at the shores of Vasilevsky Ostrov, and if my great-grandmother had stood on tiptoe to look out of the window in her apartment on Maly Prospekt she would have seen the river and the great Kronstadt Bay. But my great-grandmother did not want to see the river or Kronstadt Bay or the beautiful tall houses on Maly Prospekt. She did not want to look out of the window at a foreign land. She drew the heavy red velvet drapes and shut the doors – the carpets swallowed all sound, and my great-grandmother sat on the sofas, the chairs, or the four-poster beds, rocking back and forth and feeling homesick for Germany. The light in the large apartment on Maly Prospekt was dim, like the light at the bottom of the sea, and my great-grandmother may have thought that this foreign place, that St Petersburg, that all of Russia was nothing but a deep, twilight dream from which she would soon awaken.
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