“The Today”: Helga Schubert’s novel about dementia

“The Today”: Helga Schubert’s novel about dementia

“The Today”: Helga Schubert’s great novel about love in old age

Writer Helga Schubert in front of an audience.

Since her success with the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, Helga Schubert has often been invited to readings, here she is at the Potsdam Literature Festival LIT:potsdam.

© Eberhard Thonfeld / Imago Images

In her autobiographical novel, Helga Schubert tells a moving story about life with her husband who needs care. Anyone who reads the book will find it difficult to get Schubert’s sentences out of their heads.

Ever since she won the Bachmann Prize in 2020 and shortly thereafter climbed the bestseller lists with “Vom Auflangen”, Helga Schubert has often been invited to evening readings. She rarely follows them, because who then takes care of her husband who needs care? She has lived with him almost all of her life, for more than 50 years, and now, at the end, as closely as ever. A prison, in some moments. An intimate, grateful love in many others. Her autobiographical novel Today is about it. Whoever reads this book will always think of Schubert’s sentences in the future, when it comes to dementia, love in old age and reconciliation with life.

In 2020, Helga Schubert won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize

Because in the experience of the 83-year-old, every movement, almost every everyday object becomes food for thought in which, to sum up, everything is connected with everything else, then and now, anger and gratitude, exhaustion and curiosity, you can’t let go of it anymore. Even now, as an old woman, she still has real life tasks to solve, she writes: “It’s about letting go, accepting, it’s about making peace, about understanding, about not constantly wanting to change others, yourself and life .”

Schubert has now made a great story out of this task. And it seems to have come extraordinarily close to the solution: “This is what’s left over from our decades, I thought: hands that warm each other. I shook his hand under the blanket and squeezed it. And he squeezed my hand. Like a promise. In good and bad times. But these are not bad times at all.”

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