Katharina Adler


Suffering from a petite hysterie and growing up within a darkly complex family situation, Dora became one of the twentieth century’s most famous patients when she found the strength to break off treatment with Sigmund Freud. Aged barely eighteen, the young Jewish girl robbed the great analyst, as he later complained, “of the satisfaction of more thoroughly freeing her of her ailment”. 

For author Katharina Adler, this rebellious patient, whose real name was kept secret at the time, is more than a family anecdote. In her later fame, Adler’s great-grandmother was portrayed by some as a victim, and idealised by others as a heroine. “Slowly, my wish grew to complete this picture of her, yet also to counter it. I wanted to show a woman who couldn’t be dismissed as a life-long hysteric or exploited in a superficial way as a heroine. I wanted to show a woman with strengths and a few weaknesses who struggled to the last to live a self-determined life, despite all the adversities.”

Ida – Dora’s real name – is the focus of this stirring, infectious novel, a powerful display of Adler’s creative dexterity and eye for the smallest of details. The locus of Ida’s story oscillates between external, political disputes and internal, psychological conflict, and between exile and memory. Yet this bewitching narrative also offers intriguing perspectives on the ripples and storms of half a century of human history. Ida is a forceful plea both for the veracity of human perceptions and their captivatingly diverse nature, telling the story of a woman whose life began in earnest once she had turned her back on one of the past century’s greatest figures.

English sample translation available! "

Katharina Adler

Katharina Adler

Katharina Adler, born in Munich in 1980, Katharina Adler lived in Leipzig and Berlin before returning to the city of her birth, where she currently lives. She was awarded the state of Bavaria’s literary stipend and was nominated for the 2015 Döblin Prize