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LIVING IN THE MOMENT, REFLECTING ON THE PAST: Exploring Loss, Language, and Identity in Martina Hefter’s Zurück auf Los and Die Küsten der Berge

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Chapter Summary

Examinations of twenty-first century German literature remain tethered to concerns that have dominated scholarly debate since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Remembering the past continues to be the cultural touchstone for many recent scholarly publications. In her novels Zurück auf Los (2005) and Die Küsten der Berge (2008), Martina Hefter presents the lives of her contemporary female protagonists for a brief window of time. This article analyzes how the protagonists’ explorations of the interplay between loss, language and life still entail forays into their individual pasts. Concomitantly, the female protagonists employ temporal mantras to help them cope with the present and the inevitable progression of time. In so doing, Hefter’s novels question the established link between Germany’s past and present carried forward from the twentieth century and can be read as a call for new temporal models for the twenty-first century.



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