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review 2018-01-20 11:00
Abused and Shunned by Society: The Diary of a Lost Girl by Margarete Böhme
The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks edition) - Thomas Gladysz;Margarete Bohme
Tagebuch einer Verlorenen - Margarete Böhme

This forgotten classic from Germany was a best-selling novel in 1905 and translated into many languages.


It was also widely read for nearly three decades – until the story of a fallen girl from a bourgeois family who sees no other way to survive but prostitution was pushed into the abyss of oblivion because it didn’t fit into the ideal and virtuous image of Germans that Nazi propaganda created. Mute films made of it had the same fate although the 1929 film of G. W. Pabst starring Louise Brooks is much appreciated by enthusiasts like the editor of the again available English edition of the book.


Please click here to read the full review on my main book blog Edith’s Miscellany!

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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url 2016-12-15 12:16
BookRiot: Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!
The Nutcracker - E.T.A. Hoffmann,Maurice Sendak,Ralph Manheim

At this time each year, thousands of little Claras across the world pull their Victorian nightgowns over their heads, lace up their toe shoes, and prepare to take their place on stage in one of the most coveted roles for an aspiring ballet dancer. But the history of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet goes beyond twirling Sugar Plum Fairies and pirouetting Rat Kings.

The character we’ve come to know as Clara originally appeared in a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, by the name Marie Stahlbaum. At a holiday party thirty-odd years later, the legendary Alexandre Dumas told his own version of Marie’s surreal fever dream at a party after being tied to a chair by some of his daughter’s friends who demanded they be told a story. The resulting version of Hoffman’s fairy tale was less dark and more suited to a young audience. That was the version that Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky adapted nearly 50 years later for a performance at the Russian Imperial Theatre.

The original performance sold out on opening night (December 18, 1892) and a holiday season has not since passed without a curtain rising on a gorgeous Christmas tree, in the midst of being decorated by the Stahlbaum family and their friends.


Happy 200th Birthday, The Nutcracker!:


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review 2016-05-07 11:00
A Hell of a Childhood: Beautiful Days by Franz Innerhofer
Beautiful days: A novel - Franz Innerhofer
Schöne Tage - Franz Innerhofer

This important work of Austrian literature has first been published in 1974 and is on many school reading lists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland today. The English translation, however, seems to have seen only one edition before going out of print again – unlike its French and Spansh translations.


The story basically is the fictionalised account of the author's own horrible childhood on a mountain farm in the Alpine regions of Salzburg during the 1950s. In shocking detail he evokes his love-less, even cruel biological father, who took him into house and family much rather as a free farm hand than as his son. His has to work hard for his living and he is only allowed to go to school when it suits the father or the teacher starts pestering. Beatings and abuse are an almost daily occurence and weigh terribly on the sensitive as well as intelligent boy who as he grows older begins to consider suicide as an acceptable way out. But then he turns into a teenager. Seeing that is stronger than his father he forces open his way into a better life.


If you'd like to learn more about this sad and shattering book that is definitely worth reading, be invited to click here to read my long review on Edith's Miscellany.

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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review 2014-01-24 14:00
When Idols Fail in Reality: Once a Greek by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Grieche sucht Griechin - Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Once a Greek... - Friedrich Duerrenmatt

Abridged version of my review posted on Edith’s Miscellany on 3 January 2014


The satire Once a Greek is set in French-speaking Switzerland, presumably in the (fictitious) capital. The protagonist called Arnolph Archilochos is a middle-aged sub-accountant, an insignificant underling in one of countless open-plan offices of the Machine Factory Petit-Paysan plc. He’s a very principled and religious man, a model of virtue imitating a number of chosen idols who leads a rather ascetic and bleak life. One Sunday the hostess of the Chez Auguste where he has his meals convinces him to place a Lonely Heart’s ad in the paper. Being of Greek descent, he seeks a Greek girl, an innocent like himself. Beautiful and charming Chloé Saloniki answers to the ad and everybody except Arnolph realizes at first sight that she is a prostitute. They agree on getting married quickly and even quicker the collapse of his idyllic view of life as well as the fall of his idols announces itself.


The plot of Once a Greek is absurd, the language matter-of-fact. Essentially Friedrich Dürrenmatt satirizes our inclination to idealize the world before our eyes and to simply fade out or mentally alter everything that doesn’t fit in. People of rigorous virtue are particularly prone to it, if they – like Arnolph – take for granted that others observe the same moral values as themselves. But sooner or later everybody has to face reality and to decide how to deal with it. In the end unconditional love is all that counts.


For me Once a Greek by Friedrich Dürrenmatt has been a quick and interesting read which I enjoyed very much and therefore recommend although the English has been out of print already for a while.


For the full review please click here to go to my blog Edith’s Miscellany.

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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review 2014-01-13 17:21
A Flight In Twos Across Europe
Die Nacht von Lissabon - Erich Maria Remarque,Tilman Westphalen
The Night in Lisbon - Ralph Manheim,Erich Maria Remarque

The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque


Abridged version of my review posted on Edith’s Miscellany on 8 November 2013


During World War II Portugal was for many the last stronghold of peace and freedom in Europe, moreover one situated at the Atlantic Ocean. It’s no wonder that the country, although under the terror regime of António de Oliveira Salazar at the time, attracted countless refugees from the war-torn and Nazi-infested continent. The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque is set in the Portuguese capital, but its major part is taken up by the flight of a refugee with false identity who doesn’t trust his memory. In return for – saving – two ship tickets to the USA he asks the narrator to stay with him during the night and to listen to his story. The a critical journalist from Osnabrück lived as an illegal alien in France for five years, but then he inherited valid papers from another refugee known under the name Josef Schwartz. This gave him the (risky) opportunity to return to Germany and see his wife Helen. From then on it was a flight together across Europe, first to Switzerland then to France. Somehow they managed to get to Marseille from where they had to flee in a hurry again, this time across the Spanish border and eventually to Lisbon. For Helen the city of hope was the final destination.


The Night in Lisbon is a dense and easy-to-read novel which gives a gripping insight into the typical fate of refugees during World War II as the famous author himself experienced it to some extent. With thousands of people erring through the world in search of a safe place to settle down or just of a future worth living, Erich Maria Remarque’s The Night in Lisbon could hardly be more up-to-date. All things considered the novel is a very instructive and valuable read calling for humanity and understanding like all works of Erich Maria Remarque. I highly recommend this one.


For the full review please click here to go to my blog Edith’s Miscellany.

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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