Born in 1959, Karl Rühmann grew up in Yugoslavia and the USA. He studied German and Spanish literatures and literary science in Zagreb and Münster and worked as a language teacher and editor. He currently lives in Zurich, works as a literary translator, and is an author of novels, radio plays, and numerous internationally recognized children’s books.
In 2020, his novel Der Held (The Hero) was nominated for the Swiss Book Prize. His novel Die Wahrheit, vielleicht (The Truth, Maybe), published last year, opens a door onto the life of Felipe ten Holt. The protagonist has always lived between different worlds: as the son of a Spanish mother and Dutch father; as the target of his jealous stepfather who blocks him from his mother; as an interrogation specialist searching for truth in a thicket of words, gestures, deception, and disclosure. After several professional and private setbacks, Felipe hopes to find inner peace in work as a freelance interpreter. In this profession, he is responsible for communication, but not—he hopes—for its consequences. This will prove to be an illusion. Felipe searches for correlations, connections between people, things, ideas, problems. His search is typical for a time in which everyone is interconnectedly isolated and always losing their orientation, despite all the tracking apps that are available.
In his very fine way, Karl Rühmann shows that communication is more than speech, and he shows how hard it is for those who are not “fluent” in the dominant means of communication—whether interpreters or not.
Die Wahrheit, vielleicht. Roman. rüffer & rub 2022
Der Held. Roman. rüffer & rub 2020
Glasmurmeln, ziegelrot. Roman. rüffer & rub 2018