Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Katrin Schumann

Katrin Schumann is the author of the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller The Forgotten Hours. Born in Freiburg, Germany, she lives in Boston and Key West.

Schumann's new novel is This Terrible Beauty.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for This Terrible Beauty, and for your character Bettina?

A: In November 1989, I flew with my father to the German island of Rügen, up north on the Baltic Sea. A Berliner, my father had spent summers there as a little boy, not unlike Bostonians who head to the Vineyard to escape the city.

But for three decades, the island had been on lockdown: after World War II, half of Germany fell under Russian control, trapping millions of Germans behind a physical and metaphorical wall. Luckily, my father escaped to the West and eventually made his way to freedom in America.

Just a few weeks before our trip to Rügen, the actual wall that split Germany in two—patrolled by sharpshooters and dogs, lined with bombs—had finally come down. Truth be told, until that visit to the island, my family’s history felt distant and confusing to me.

That all changed after my father and I crept into my great aunt’s abandoned cottage on a medieval square in Saßnitz, where I came face-to-face with the epic, yet also crushingly mundane, struggles that defined 20th century German history, and dramatically changed the course of millions of lives.

The derelict fisherman’s cottage was filled with debris and broken bottles, unloved and unlived in. In a corner of the cramped living room was a large iron firepit, and behind it a huge coal stain had blossomed over the floral wallpaper.

For decades, East Germans relied heavily on...[read on]
Visit Katrin Schumann's website.

Writers Read: Katrin Schumann.

The Page 69 Test: This Terrible Beauty.

--Marshal Zeringue