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Annette Hess Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The German House (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Annette Hess
Author Annette Hess was born in Germany on January 18, 1967, and grew up in Hanover. Originally, she studied interior design and painting, and then later scenic writing. Hess worked as an assistant director and a freelance journalist, before she started a successful career as a screenwriter, which she started doing exclusively in the year 2001. She wrote screenplays for television films and series during this time.

Annette Hess studied scenic writing at the Berlin University of the Arts from 1994 to 1998 with other authors and dramatists.

Her popular and critically acclaimed television series “Weissensee”, Ku’damm 56”, and “Ku’damm 59” are credited with revitalizing German television.

Annette has won many awards, like: the Frankfurt Prize, the German Television Prize, and the Grimme Prize.

For “Ku’damm 56”, she wanted to tell the story of forgiveness. She also wanted to show that not only is the person forgiven for what they have done, but the victim is able to even love the offender. Annette has dealt quite a bit with post-traumatic stress disorder in sexual violence and has spoken to people that have gone through this type of thing. The conclusion she came to was the only way to forgive somebody for sexual violence is to get out of the victim role.

Annette was inspired by two things while creating the character of Eva. While writing “The German House”, she listened to four hundred hours of the Auschwitz trial, at first out of pure interest. She was rather impressed by a Polish interpreter gave the witnesses security, with her precise, calm, and reliable manner. She helped give them the courage to recount all of their worst experiences in the face of their perpetrators.

The other was Annette’s own mom, who was born in the year 1942. she looked naively and unsuspectingly into the future in the sixties: having kids, getting married, and building a house. Annette felt she was only able to tell the topic of the Holocaust from a naive perspective. She wants humans to once more experience what humans are really capable of.

The success of the novel has overwhelmed her, as she never expected it to do so well. Eva’s story, she finds, is a universal one. The realization Eva has that her country’s history is inextricably connected to that of her own family’s history applies to all people.

She seems to have struck a nerve with her book, seeing as how there are dark chapters in the past for every country (though not really comparable to the Germans’ crimes). Everybody living today is impacted by their own origins and families. Traumas skip generations and can be inherited. As a result, there needs to disclosure and processing of one’s history. It is only through this that healing can begin.

She has enjoyed experiencing the impact of the novel around the world. While she was in Spain, there were some intensive discussions about Spain’s past, particularly about the Franco era. She found there were a lot of things that appeared to be unsolved, unprocessed, and unspoken there about what went on. It is great, she feels, when a book is able to trigger conversations like these do.

As the novel was being translated, Annette let all the people translating her novel they could contact her any time they needed to with any questions they might have had. She is fascinated by languages, and believes it is difficult to overestimate the challenges of producing a satisfactory translation. She found she got a lot of questions asking about national characteristics, the dialect, and the culinary dishes.

In the book, she avoided saying concentration camps, because it would jolt the reader out of the flow of the text each time due to its powerful impact in German. The Israeli translator felt calling them “camps” only minimized them quite a bit. So in this translation, they are concentration camps.

Her debut novel, called “The German House”, was released in America in the year 2019 and is from the genre of literary fiction. Even before the novel was published, the novel had been sold in fifteen countries, places like the USA, Sweden, Spain, Hungary, France, and Israel. The novel was translated into English by Elisabeth Lauffer, and it was a December 2019 Indie Next Pick.

“The German House” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2019. If everything that your family wound up being a lie, how far would you be willing to go in order to uncover the truth?

For Eva Bruhns, age twenty-four, World War II is just a foggy childhood memory. When the war ended, Frankfurt was just a smoldering ruin, after being severely damaged by the Allied bombings. That was two decades ago. Now the year is 1963, and the city’s streets, which were once cratered but now paved and smooth. Shiny new stores have replaced all of the scorched rubble.

Eager for Jurgen Schoormann, her wealthy suitor, to propose to her, Eva starts dreaming of beginning a new life away from her sister and parents. Eva’s plans get turned upside down as David Miller, a fiery investigator, hires her to be a translator for a trial on war crimes.

While she gets increasingly involved in the Frankfurt Trials, Eva starts questioning her family’s silence on both her future and on the war. Why are her parents refusing to talk about what happened? What could they be hiding? Does she actually love Jurgen, and is she going to be happy as a housewife?

Even though it will mean going against her family’s wishes and her lover, Eva, who is propelled by her own conscience, joins up with a team of some fiery prosecutors determined to bring Nazis to justice. It is a decision that helps change the past and present of her nation.

Annette Hess delivers an impressive and powerful novel, one that is well written and carefully researched. The novel is also quite compelling making it tough to set the book aside for too long. The book is well worth the read for the exploration of a lesser known part of German history as well as the myriad conundrums that it presents about the ability humans have to perceive even their worst behavior in a non-critical light.

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