The women in these novel miniatures have experienced a lot and left a lot behind them. They care for strangers, look after big children and old parents and almost lose themselves over it.
Tanja Schwarz tells the stories of women from the liberal, often precarious middle classes, whose lives are difficult and fragile in the normal way. Through political or private crises they are awakened from their saturated rigidity. Tanja Schwarz circles her characters with sparse yet to the core prose.
- 5 questions to ..
- Reading samples
Tanja Schwarz was born in 1970 in Hechingen in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. She studied at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig and received numerous awards. Her short story collection "The Nocturnal Skater" was published in 2001, 2019 .
Laughter and dying
The beauty of the sky
Always Happy Hour
We were like brothers
The annual banquet of the gravediggers
Queen off duty
The city gate opens
We are the light
Don’t miss literary news!
Our newsletter not only informs you about current books, news from the publishing house and dates, but also provides interviews, notes and background texts by and with our authors.
In a new light
Tanja Schwarz answers questions about her book "In a new light".
"In an enthusiastic Facebook post, Sandra Hoffmann, an author I hold in high esteem, put Tanja Schwarz on a par with Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. It seems that she (Schwarz) has combined her forces for this new book. Indeed, like the Canadian veteran Munro, she is a master of the succinct form. In clear, touching language, the author tells of carrying on despite sorrow, anger or money worries – and how it is possible to summon up the strength to do so." Meike Schnitzler, Brigitte, 27.10.2021
"A literary discovery, a brilliant volume of stories." Ulrich Thiele, SZENE Hamburg, 30.09.2021
"Tanja Schwarz tells in her novel miniatures of women whose lives are, as the blurb says, ‘difficult and fragile in a normal way’. For the precision and honesty with which Schwarz achieves this, one can only love, hate a little and in any case admire ‘In neuem Licht’. Painful and beautiful, defiant and loving – just the way it is, if you are willing to look closely." Star, 23.12.2021
"These are simply great stories, which in a precise and often highly poetic language sound out the whole existential force and depth of personal crises and at the same time take a look at politics and society in a completely unsentimental and ideology-free way." Jurgen Abel, Literature in Hamburg, 1.10.2021
"Tanja Schwarz tells her stories along the fractures and cracks. She observes unflinchingly, describes subtly, sometimes with an almost dreamlike sense of word touch. Each story could become a maximum disaster, but this does not happen. It always remains just about endurable, thus also durable." Marija Bakker, WDR5 Books, 04.12.2021
"The questions in these stories are as everyday as they are essential, but their tone, at times sober, at times lyrical, gives everything another level. There is tension, depth, and next to dull pain, here and there unexpected wit shines through." Marija Bakker, WDR5 Books, 04.12.2021
"The miniatures could all have become entire novels, but it’s a good thing they did. It’s as if you were allowed to look through various windows, to be there briefly at an interesting point, and then the window closes again. One thinks and feels for a while afterwards, is enriched and peculiarly happy." Marija Bakker, WDR5 Books, 04.12.2021
"Tanja Schwarz captures moments of female reality that immediately suggest a whole world. And so I fall into these lives and take something from each of them for myself."Silvia Feist, Emotion, 01.12.2021
"In clear, touching language, Tanja Schwarz tells of carrying on despite tears and money worries – and how one manages to muster the strength to do so." Ariane Heimbach, Brigitte Woman, 03.11.2021
"What Tanja Schwarz tells in this book is likely to come very close to the everyday reality of many readers. Nevertheless, it is not about a simple identificatory recognition. The literary feat is how Schwarz’s use of the first-person form – the actually most curious of this perspective, from which we all view the world – underscores. With her helpless eloquence, the first person here illustrates above all the contortions with which the poor I repeatedly just barely prevents the shaky construction of life from falling apart." Moritz Klein, SR2 "Der BuchTipp", 1.12.2021
"Schwarz combines her portraits of life in the precarious realm of German normality with the fates of refugees and migrants. In very different ways, the narrators’ lives come into contact with these very different values of origin and experience. Such encounters shed new light on one’s own crumbling life. The contrasting effect, however, does not amount to ridiculing the problems of the narrators as banal afflictions of affluence. Rather, something like a representative presentness emerges from the combination, such as one finds so vividly in only a few books that are written today and are called contemporary literature in this sense."Moritz Klein, SR2 "The BookTip", 1.12.2021
"It’s cleverly done and gives this already pretty good book an added appeal."Moritz Klein, SR2 "The BookTip", 1.12.2021
"Tanja Schwarz has written a book about this, her own generation. It has the length of a novel, but is not such a novel. The identities and fates are too diverse for a single character, a single plot, to bundle them in an exemplary way. So instead we read twelve self-contained episodes: the author calls them ‘novel miniatures’, and in fact, for all their brevity, each one contains an entire life." Johannes Bruggaier, Sudkurier, 14.10.2021
"But Tanja Schwarz actually gets to the bottom of these longings, fears, and realizations with precise, honest, even intimate prose. It is a language capable of transforming simple everyday observations into fascinating studies of consciousness. There have been many stylistic annoyances to be endured in German-language fiction in recent times. This author, on the other hand, has apparently only now found a major publisher: The book market is full of mysteries." Johannes Bruggaier, Sudkurier, 14.10.2021
"Tanja Schwarz is a master of the concise form. Her stories ‘In neuem Licht’ are about middle-aged women who have experienced and suffered a lot – with daughters and sons, with ex-husbands, lovers or old mothers. The author really gets to the heart of the matter." Anne Sturzer, Bremervorder Zeitung, 15.11.2021
"In her ‘novel miniatures’ In a new light Tanja Schwarz describes female life situations in midlife unpretentiously and honestly. Promising – a bit like Alice Munro, only set in the here and now." Barbara Meixner, BuchMarkt, December 2021
"Insanely sensual language." Mithu Sanyal, WDR5 Books, 04.12.2021
"These stories are on the one hand beautifully real, very worldly and thankfully do not lose themselves in inwardness." Ferdinand Quante, WDR5 Books, 04.12.2021
"Tanja Schwarz’s approach is unobtrusive. This is how the complexity of circumstances can be presented, Tanja Schwarz can do that." Anton Thuswaldner, Salzburger Nachrichten, 03.01.2022
5 Questions for ..
Dear Tanja Schwarz, what is your current life situation and do you have a dream of happiness?
Since 3 years I have an acre, a bigger property in Vierlanden, which still belongs to Hamburg. I grow fruit and vegetables, I also attach importance to insect-friendly wilderness. Farming offers a good balance to the physically inactive and nonsensical sitting at the computer. I like to write very much in my hut there.
The big kids have moved out and are studying, the younger sons live with my husband and me, are firmly in lockdown and are looking forward to having young cats soon. After difficult years with 4 children and several jobs, I now have more freedom for my own interests: writing, the garden.
Another hobby: singing in the cantor’s choir at St. Jacobi. This does not quite fit with my otherwise very unchurched attitude. If I had magic powers, I would abolish capitalism and open the borders between different countries. Until then, I practice solidarity in the closest environment, plant a few fruit trees that were available at Aldi this week, write, read and sometimes sing secretly.
How did you get into writing?
I actually wrote as a child and learned that there were writers among my ancestors: my grandfather, who under a pseudonym wrote crime novels set in London in 1942 and ’43 (there is no mention of war), as well as specialized books on parapsychology and advertising. Unfortunately, on closer inspection, these books are not particularly.
The other day I discovered another writing ancestor, from her are very vivid and super written memoirs and stories from the 19th century. century have been handed down. She remained childless and struggled to be taken seriously as an author. That has inspired me. In the last 20 years I have often struggled to find time for writing. When you live in the expensive big city and acquire such a large family ship, an inevitable struggle. At the same time, I was able to gain so much insight into life worlds through family life and my jobs that I definitely accumulated enough material for writing.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book?
The moment when the son in ‘Lockdown’ looks into the full refrigerator and complains, "We don’t have anything. Nothing.
Which scene was the most difficult for you to write?
The scene in ‘Axalp’ when the protagonist futilely urges her daughter to go skiing. I saw myself in grotesquely distorted form as a horrible mother driven by her own desires.
Your book in one sentence?
How can I understand what happened to me here and now??