Arja Salafranca's Reviews > Alice

Alice by Judith Hermann
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Feb 11, 2012

really liked it

German writer Judith Hermann examines the loss of a loved one through these five inter-linked short narratives. Her gaze is cool, detached, the writing style almost blandly obvious; the central character of Alice seems ephemeral: she appears in each story, every death linked to her, whether a friend’s husband is dying, or whether an old friend, a man in his seventies, is about to pass on. We get to know, and empathise, with Alice through the layering of these stories, like burrowing down deep into the text, until, by the final story, the one whose loss recounts a man central to Alice’s existence, we feel we have, at last, become acquainted with the character who moves so centrally, so determinedly through these stories. It’s gratifying, this slow peeling away at the onion skin of Alice, till at last, there’s a sense of completion. Death is a character, a fact, early on, yet these stories are as much about loss as the central figure of Alice.
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