Oct 13, Jill rated it it was amazing Shelves: According to legend, the witch appears in the heat of day to spirit away children from their distracted parents. Those who are able to engage the witch in a short conversation find that her witch-like powers evaporate. Before the train arrives she tells him a white lie, abandoning him at a bench, never to return.
In the succeeding pages, the reader gains a glimpse as to what drove Helene to this most unnatural act. Her charismatic, morphine-addicted older sister Martha engages her in an incestuous relationship. When the two sisters gain the chance to flee to Berlin, they grab it and train as nurses, exposing them to the pain of their patients and also giving them ready access to drugs. Martha fits right into the debauchery and frantic partying of a decaying Berlin with her enlightened free-thinking friend and physician-lover, Leontine, but Helene is far more circumspect and sensitive.
Only if pain were obliterated from the world could we speak of the death of God. As readers, we watch helplessly as Helene becomes increasingly detached, her heart becoming cold and numb. Julia Franck instructs through omission as much as she does the details. When Helene calls Berlin to speak to Martha and gets no answer, we as readers are reasonably sure what has occurred.
But it is never confirmed. As a result, as Helene goes numb, we begin to understand. And we begin to gain some compassion for an act that virtually all mothers would consider unforgiveable. There is a menacing, ever-shifting quality that pervades the book, become more and more pronounced as Hitler rises in power. The more the characters lose, the more they must abandon. In many ways, we know they are already as good as gone.
Nov 17, Amy rated it liked it Shelves: Then the author, Julia Franck, takes us back in time to the early years of this young woman, and the events that lead up to a lost little boy, confused, hungry and alone. The mother is Helene, and her family is dysfunctional and damaged long before the Holocaust begins. Her identity as a person is in question before her identity as a Jew becomes relevant.
As a nurse she helps care for her ailing father while trying to deal with her mentally ill mother. She thinks she finds a future, but nearly everything she is close to is taken away. She finds a way out of the impending doom by marrying a German who helps her with false papers that identify her as Anna, a German citizen, but their marriage yields nothing but the child.
She raises him alone while working long hours in the hospital, assisting German doctors in the maternity ward, as well as in the forced sterilization of some female patients. The book is incredibly painful. A few times I put it down just to get away from the grief. The author makes a tremendous gamble by having her lead character do something that appears unforgiveable right off the bat.
She shows how emotionally abandoned Helene had been, and the ugliness that fills her life. The result is a tension that carries through the book and makes the narrative so compelling.
One factor I found fascinating was the details of the nurses and their struggles in Germany. The fact that Helene works with new mothers is a link emotionally with her own insane mother and her own flawed nurturing.
What motherhood means is an underlying theme, and the title makes you consider what kind of love is blind. Additionally, Franck creates an unforgettably tense scene in which the hungry mother and son go mushroom hunting, and find themselves in flight to escape hunters that are not after animal prey. Her actions in the forest foreshadow what is to come. I understand that under her circumstances, self-preservation required her to withdraw emotionally.
And very few aspects of her life were really under her control. Yet there was an element of simple kindness she seemed to lack, or perhaps, it was all used up. In any case, the glimpse we get of Peter's future shows how the cycle of pain is completed. View all 6 comments. Die einen nicht abschrecken sollen! Everyone seems to love this book. The story was gripping, but I didn't like any of the characters, not even the little boy.
I couldn't care less about this woman and I was angry that she repeated her own mother's faults. I did finish it because it was for my bookclub, but if it wasn't for that I wouldn't have finished it. I really don't mind drama in a book, terrible things happen, but I at least want to sympathize wit Everyone seems to love this book.
I really don't mind drama in a book, terrible things happen, but I at least want to sympathize with one character and there was just nothing to hold on to.
I understand that that is the attraction for a lot of people, but not for me. A very depressing book A Novel" starts dramatically with a Prologue in which a young mother leaves her seven-year old son at a remote railway station in eastern Germany and disappears The time is , the war has ended and the two have to flee west ahead of Soviet troops taking over the city.
The author, captivated by her own father's childhood trauma, took the search for possible explanations for her grandmother's behaviour, as a starting point for her book. The resulting novel has turned into a fictional, wide-ranging psychological portrait of a complex and emotionally shattered young woman, who lived through two world wars and, for her not less dramatic, the time in between. Franck's novel is a thought-provoking and, at times, unsettling and disturbing story of one person's deep love and loss, loneliness and rejection, responsibility and neglect, and the desperate, sometimes incomprehensible, will to survive.
In a way, the novel effectively provides the back story to the young mother and aims to clarify if not justify why a young mother abandons her beloved child after all they have been through together. While primarily focusing on the portrayal of the young mother, Helene, and her difficult relationships to her family and close surroundings, the author, nevertheless, reaches beyond the private and individual sphere into the depiction of sections of a society in chaos and upheaval. This applies especially to the Berlin's "Golden Twenties".
Franck goes into some length in bringing to life the exuberant, careless and, with hindsight, totally naive behaviour of the bourgeois middle class. Any political events or references to changing economic conditions, that give the reader a sense of passing time, are only hinted at obliquely. In her description of individuals and scenarios, the author doesn't shy away from a certain amount of stereotyping. For her, Helene remains the silent observer as she feels increasingly alienated and retreats more and more into herself. While their happiness takes on the shape of a fairytale, the reader knows full well, given the events recounted upfront in the Prologue that some drama will destroy whatever hope Helene had for a happier life As an illustration of the total disintegration of sectors of German society in the twenties and thirties, in particular, I found the novel lacking in depth and specifics.
For a German reader, many place names, such as Bautzen, Stettin, Pirna where Selma is taken for treatment , etc. Bautzen, where Helene grew up, is synonymous with brutal imprisonment, whether during the Nazi regime or later, until the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Stettin Szczecin , where Helene lived until her flight to the West was, during the Third Reich, a centre for forced labour and prison transports into nearby concentration camps. Pirna is known for its "Sanatorium" where thousands of inmates were murdered during the early s.
However, Franck gives no indication as to the realities surrounding Helene, nor that her heroine was to any degree aware of such realities. Frank's language is somewhat unusual, not only has it a touch of the old fashioned stories from the Eastern regions of Germany, it is at times, and in contrast with the event described, poetic in its choice of words and expressions.
The complete absence of any punctuation in direct speech, is unusual, yet eventually, it makes the text flow and creates immediacy beyond speech. It may be helpful to add is a comment on the German title. Literally translated the word means "midday woman" or "midday wife", which, however would not have any meaning. However, the word describes a fable character out of the west-Slavic tradition where it refers to an evil spirit like a "midday witch". She appears during the noon hour on the hot harvesting days and affects those out in the field.
They can go crazy or even die when approached by her. The only remedy to protect oneself or heal is by talking to her spirit about the harvest throughout the hour of noon to one. The question remains in the reader, whether Helene, the central character was touched by the witch and if so, whether she found a way to protect herself. I read through some of the reviews for this book. I'm always amazed at what some readers think. Books, clearly, touch us in different ways. This book has been described as disturbing, haunting, and shocking.
It is all of those and more. What moved me about this book was the evolution of the character Helene as she changed in response to tragic events, how she moves from a bright, energetic, ambitious girl to a cold, distant, lonely, cruel, burdened mother. The contrast between the girl's outlook I read through some of the reviews for this book. The contrast between the girl's outlook and the woman she becomes as a consequence of experiences, really outside her control, is brilliantly provocative. Her loss of innocence is so subtle, creeping up on you slowly, so that you find yourself sympathetic to the cold, cruel even soulless mother she becomes.
You think if only her son knew what we knew about his mother, justifying the unforgivable cruelty. But we mustn't lose ourselves to it perhaps like Germany did to horrors of Nazism , it remains unforgivable as Peter exhibits. It's hard not to see Helene's life as a metaphor for Germany and her people: May 11, Roger Brunyate rated it really liked it. Why One Writes You often see reviewers praising a book with the words "this is why one reads. This is my second attempt at a review of it, and I think my reasons for making the change are important.
I would not want other readers to be led astray by Amazon's marketing as I was when I first read it, and expect a novel about moral degeneration in Germany during the interwar years, only to criticize the author for not succe Why One Writes You often see reviewers praising a book with the words "this is why one reads. I would not want other readers to be led astray by Amazon's marketing as I was when I first read it, and expect a novel about moral degeneration in Germany during the interwar years, only to criticize the author for not succeeding. Alerted by another reader, I have since read a German-language interview in which the author reveals that her interest was not societal at all; instead, she was telling the story of a single character, inspired by a connection that was intensely personal.
So now I am trying again. Why an author writes makes all the difference. The book opens with a surely-unforgivable act: The year is The place is Stettin, now in Poland, but then on the eastern border of a defeated Germany overrun by the Russians. The child witnesses his mother's forced surrender to the sex-starved victors, but Franck's truly unforgettable image is of one of those soldiers, naked except for his helmet, hidden behind the door, legs drawn up, head in his hands, sitting on the floor sobbing.
The detail is striking precisely because it seems to contradict the brutality of the rest; the tragedy of war is not merely for the vanquished. If the whole novel were as good as its prologue, it would be tremendous. There is a real moral question here: Looking back now over my original Amazon review, since transported here, I see that I perhaps gave more details than some readers would like; hence the spoiler warning.
To quote the Publishers Weekly description: Franck's book is an attempt to provide the answers that he himself was unable to give, even on his deathbed. Having struggled as a writer myself to make sense of my own father's traumas, my heart goes out to her. Franck paints her as an unusual case: Her father returns home after spending years in a WW1 field hospital only to die horribly in his own bed. Her mother, a non-practicing Jew, refuses to speak to him and sinks deeper into the madness that had struck with his departure.
So Helene is brought up mostly by her elder sister Martha, whom she adores even though she is repeatedly abused in a kind of incest. Precociously, Helene follows her sister into the nursing profession, a field of which the author writes brilliantly. Then while still in her teens, she accompanies Martha to Berlin, moving in with a wealthy aunt, whose life seems to be an incessant round of parties.
Here, I feel, the author rather loses her way, calling upon stereotypes rather than mining her own imagination. Yes, s Berlin was known for its permissiveness, but I cannot help feeling that the author places Martha in the middle of the world of lesbianism, promiscuity, and drugs merely to illustrate the more notorious aspects of the Zeitgeist.
Helene stays largely clear, but when she gets attached to a philosophy student, the son of wealthy Jewish parents, I feel more convinced by the ferment of contemporary intellectual ideas than by any gut sense of his reality as a lover. But Helene is stunned when he dies, and it is in this numbness that the culminating events of the novel take place. We are now three-quarters through the book, and Franck has still not got much closer to solving the mystery of her grandmother's transformation.
She is now writing against a background of well-known history, and is content to leave it in the background. Offstage, the laws against Jewish citizens begin to take effect. We have to intuit Helene's growing alarm, but she herself mentions nothing until she receives a proposal of marriage. Suddenly the action accelerates like a fairground ghost train, careening around in the darkness, its rider blind to her surroundings and therefore deprived of meaningful choices.
Almost without knowing it, Helene finds herself in a new life in a new city, in an intolerable personal situation which, though certainly fueled by the political climate, seems to have come out of nowhere. What a lovely tribute, Per Mertesacker! Und da ich beim Versteckspiel, bei dem ich so lange immer mitmachen musste, nicht mehr mitmachen wollte, bin ich in medias res gegangen.
Danke, dass Menschen Kraft haben anderen zu helfen. Danke, dass es Robert Enke gab. Er bleibt in ewiger Erinnerung. Danke an Teresa und Per.
There are some philosophical musings, courtesy of Helene's doctor-scholar fiance, Carl and husband-wife power struggle, courtesy of Helene's husband Wilhelm but they are tackled by showing and not by telling. Streitschrift zu Macht, Sicherheit und Aussenpolitik by Egon Bahr Book 10 editions published between and in German and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. I'm sure there are people out there will like this book,but I couldn't get past the 1st two chapters. For her, Helene remains the silent observer as she feels increasingly alienated and retreats more and more into herself. Having stated this, it may imply that the novel would contain an extensive cast of characters, each making a mark on their generation. Beste Dokumentation Wolfgang Bauer, Ich bin jetzt eine andere.
Schon 8 Jahre ist es her. Danke Teresa und Per.
Ruhe in Frieden Robert. Ihre Leben under Ihre Geschichte breinflusse mich wirklich. Ich bin jetzt nicht depressiv wie Robert Enke es war. Aber ich habe Angstattacken wie z. Dort kann ich schalten und walten und bin auch im Stress die Ruhe selbst. Auch Autobahnfahren geht oft garnicht. Mit meiner Familie gehe ich oft spazieren und versuche die Angst durch aushalten zu besiegen.
Ziel ist es, irgendwann selbst noch einmal auf einem Sportplatz zu stehen. In Urlauben schaffe ich schon wieder mehr, als nur vom Hotel zum Strandabschnitt davor. Nun habe ich begonnen, der Angst zu sagen: Und das ist gut. Das finde ich ganz wunderbar! Bestreiten den gleichen Weg. Unterm Strich hat es mir geholfen. Du machst Mut, bleib dran, da wartet so viel auf dich, und du kannst ebensoviel erwarten.
Ich befinde mich am Anfang und konnte durch diese offenen Texte erstmals erkennen, dass ich nicht einen, so der Volksmund: Danke, dass Sie sein Freund waren! Lasst uns Robert und Lara niemals vergessen!
Danke, ich bin durch einen Zufall hier heute hingekommen. Und nun bin ich hier und das genau am Todestag von Robert Enke. Wobei woher kommt Depression. Ich bekam genau 2 Einladungen. Der Mann ist unbezahlbar gut, aber 1x im Monat 20 Minuten …div. Anmeldungen in anderen Kliniken werden abgelehnt, sehr bedauerlich. Jetzt hat mich meine Krankenkasse zu einer Reha verpflichtet. Ich bin krank und teilweise sogar lebensbedrohlich krank. Da geht mein Dank an Teresa Enke. Deine Zeilen haben mich sehr bewegt. Auch ich wusste nicht an wen ich mich wenden kann.
Ich leide seit 4 Jahren unter dieser Krankheit. Und das darunter eine Beziehung sehr leidet. Man hat gute und schlechte Tage. Nimm sie als Chance. Hab keine Angst davor.
Sie begann mit einer Therapie und machte dann eine Kur. Diese Kur hat ihr sehr geholfen. Aber ich bin mir sicher, sie schafft es. Will continue to send positive feelings to all touched by this tragedy. Lest we not forget: Ja es ist so. Den Titel, den Menschen oder sogar die Menschen?! Da braucht es Hilfe und Orientierung. In Moment geht es mir gut. Als ehemaliger Fussballer kann ich sehr gut deine Begegnungen mit Robert Enke im Verein und der Nationalmannschaft nachvollziehen. Gut, dass Sie daran erinnern. Warum begehen in Deutschland pro Jahr Menschen Selbstmord?
Sehr gute Worte, lieber Per Mertesacker. So begann ich zu lesen und ein wenig zu recherchieren. Und mich nun aus anderer Perspektive an Robert Enke zu erinnern. Freunde, Vertraute oder Partner sind dabei ein unersetzbare Anker. At the behest of the illustrated magazine Quick, the Hamburg photographer Ulrich Mack accompanied the entire trip with his camera. His photographs are important historical documents, reflecting the emotional atmosphere of those four days in June.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the event, this book presents the best pictures from Mack's largely unpublished coverage"--Page 4 of cover. Geburtstag des Grundgesetzes Book 7 editions published in in German and held by 69 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Sachsen by Axel M Mosler Book 18 editions published between and in German and Undetermined and held by 64 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Die "sowjetische Frage"--Integration oder Zerfall? Book 2 editions published in in German and held by 59 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.
Dezember im Rahmen der Gedenkveranstaltungen der Freien und Hansestadt zum