Book by Kaschnitz, Marie Luise
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
Marie Louise Kaschnitz was one of Germany's most respected writers, the recipient of all of her country's major literary awards. The stories of Circe's Mountain display a wide range of styles, subjects, and locations, from "Long Distance," which evolves completely through one-sided conversations on the phone, to highly descriptive evocations of mood and place. There are tales which describe specific events and people in Germany during World War II, a confrontation between a young German tourist and a would-be twelve year-old rapist, a poignant portrayal of a couple's silver wedding anniversary, and several eerily mystical, narrowly missed encounters with death. The stories set in Italy carry a particular, lush heaviness. One is a beautiful, highly autobiographical exploration of a widow's grief and return from devastation after the death of her beloved husband: "Even after the most excruciating experience we obey the laws of gravity; our legs go down and our heads up; we wake up, put on our clothes and go out, remaining in the skin we wanted to jump out of, at least in spirit. We have become sadder and probably less curious but not new, and the pool of words to express the incredible is no greater than it was." Selected from volumes published between 1952 and 1966 and drawing from many different parts of Marie Kaschnitz's life, Circe's Mountain provides an ecclectic reading experience like looking back through a series of letters from a good friend who has grown and changed over the years. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister
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