German / Germany

Helden
(Heroes)

Richter, Jutta (text)
München: Hanser, 2013. – 92 p.
ISBN 978-3-446-24308-8

School holidays | Boredom | Guilt

Books about heroes, or even superheroes, are currently ten a penny. Most of them are witty parodies that use slapstick-like humour to cast an ironic light on the ideal hero. Jutta Richter’s new novel is different.

It is about complicated emotions, misplaced praise, and secrets. What are you supposed to do when you are hailed as a hero but you are actually the one to blame for the disaster you managed to avert? The first-person narrator’s guilty conscience, her fear of being found out, and her ambiguous relief when someone else is held responsible – Jutta Richter is a master in sculpting multi-layered, torn, perfectly authentic characters. At the same time, her brittle language always creates some distance. She doesn’t resort to cheap emotional effects but has a great skill at creating a special atmosphere: You can feel the heat, smell the dust – a fact that draws readers right into the story. (Age: 10+)