Jackie Thomae
© Urban Zintel

Guest 2021.

Bibliography

Momente der Klarheit
Hanser Berlin
Berlin, 2015


Brüder
Hanser Berlin
Berlin, 2019

Jackie Thomae [ Germany ]

Jackie Thomae was born in Halle/Saale in 1972, grew up in Leipzig, and moved to Berlin in 1989, where she still lives today. She is a journalist, television writer and author.
Thomae's first book publication, the guidebook »Eine Frau – Ein Buch« (2008; tr: One Woman – One Book), written together with Heike Blümner, became a bestseller. Three years later, also with Heike Blümner as co-author, followed »Letʼs face it. Das Buch für alle, die älter warden« (2011; tr: Let’s Face It: The Book for Everyone Getting Older). Aging also plays an important role in Thomae's debut novel, »Momente der Klarheit« (2015; tr: Moments of Clarity). The characters of the loosely interconnected episodes of this breakup story are around forty, neither young nor old, and come from the worlds of urban media and music. With the irretrievability of youth breathing down their necks, they experience those moments of clarity that give the story its title, moments in which illusionary notions of love and life can no longer be maintained. Thomae's characters confront the supposed realizations – wrong partner, wrong job, wrong life – with repression, reason, passivity, or insanity. The »Welt am Sonntag« concluded that the novel was, »A hard experience report about the radical nature of the romantic conception of love.« »Brüder« (2019; tr: Brothers), Thomae's second book, is a large-scale novel about the lives of two very different brothers that critics have often compared to Anglo-Saxon-style social novels. The brothers, Mick and Gabriel, do not know each other. What unites them is the fact that they are descendants of the same Senegalese father, who fathered children with two women while studying medicine in the GDR. Thomae splits the storyline between Mick's and Gabriel's lives equally and, by telling the story of Mick, a full-time partygoer and philanderer, in the third person from 1985 to 2000 and that of Gabriel, a star architect living in London, in the first person from 2000 onward, avoids schematic parallelism and flanks her two contrasting protagonists with two remarkable female characters, Delia and Fleur, the partners of Mick and Gabriel. Based on the distinctiveness of her characters, Thomae touches on a variety of socially relevant issues; much discussed by critics and readers, for example, has been the identity politics stance of Thomae's protagonists. Mick and Gabriel – and in this respect the brothers share a common trait – are reluctant to let their blackness become a central place in their own understanding of themselves and the world. »Die Zeit« found, »That the issue of skin color and racism is more complicated than social-justice warriors think, is shown in this observationally powerful social novel.« »Brüder« was on the shortlist for the German Book Prize in 2019 and was awarded the Düsseldorf Literature Prize in 2020.