Local expat authoress' book now due out in German
Two years ago English expat authoress Katherine Anne Lee published a book entitled “From Dust to Dust And A Lifetime In Between” about her grandmother and all the ups and down she experienced in life. Now this successful book has been translated into German, and it comes out on Thursday.
Writer Lee herself was born in Dorset but came to live in Switzerland when she was just five years old and now lives in Zug. It was in her summer holidays when younger that she spent time with her grandmother, Mary Eileen Cooke, known as Mollie. She was born in a small town in Shropshire and experienced both the First and Second World War, in which she lost her first husband, but found love again with her second, Bill, with whom she had an only child, Sue. She lived to see and enjoy the birth of three grandchildren but also had to come to terms with the sad loss of her daughter. "My brothers and I always encouraged her to write her life story herself," said Lee. Alas this never actually happened as her grandmother developed dementia and died in 2011.
Written in the first person, Lee’s book is both a declaration of love towards her grandmother but at the same time a declaration of war against dementia.
In a recent interview with her, a journalist of the Neue Zuger Zeitung was struck by the authoress’ modesty bearing in mind how successfully her work has been received in the United Kingdom, with the Daily Mail newspaper devoting a whole page to her. Furthermore, she has been interviewed by the BBC and Hello magazine.
What is the reason behind this great success? One answer to this is simply the way in which Lee writes, using clear and easily understood language in a fluent style while not shirking difficult and sensitive subject matters. Unlike in so many other biographies, there is no excessive flattery here, either.
As Lee herself said, “Writing about my grandmother gave me the opportunity to do one last thing for her. I am sure she would be proud of me if she could see what I have done with her life story.”
Once she had written the final version of her book, Lee sent it to five publishing companies, with two showing interest. “However, the contracts they drew up were so bad I wondered whether I should sign them.” So she declined. She did not want to sign away her rights to it; it meant too much to her for that.
As mentioned, now a German translation of the book (Staub & Sternenstaub) is coming out, on Thursday in fact. “I did not translate myself,” she said. “I commissioned a professional translator to do it for me, though of course I was able to exert a certain influence. What was important for me was keeping to the same tone as in the English version, and this has been achieved.”
Not unsurprisingly, Lee would like to become a full-time writer but she is also busy pursuing another career. “What I like to do is withdraw to a café and sit there for hours writing. It is a lonely activity but it is nice having people all around me at the same time,” she mused.
As to the response from her readers, Lee mentioned how some of them had been so affected by what they had read that they had had to put the book down for a while, so much was the affiliation they felt with Mollie.
In the meantime, Lee’s second book, “The Life And Dreams of Pimientos De Padron” has been published.