Thursday, February 21, 2008

my life is an open book

*Yawn* I've been sleeping instead of blogging. Went to bed at 8:30 p.m. last night, slept soundly until 6:15 a.m. this morning when I had no choice but to get up. Got kids and husband off to work/school and passed out for three more hours. Still tired. This is no fun at all. I'd like my life back now, please.

But anyway, just to give you something to read, Swenglishexpat tagged me for the Open Book Meme ages ago.

Here's how it goes:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open it at page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence/ phrase.
4. Blog the next four sentences/ phrases together with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig your shelves for that very special or intellectual book.
6. Pass it forward to six friends

All righty. Under the mass of papers and assorted junk at my (or should I say our, nothing seems to be mine is this house) computer desk, I dug out this book that I finished reading last week.

It's Kalt is der Abendhauch, a German novel by Ingrid Noll.

Let's see...on page 123 we have

Alice wußte von Anfang an Bescheid, sie war ja auch die einzige, der ich jemals Regines wahren Vater genannt hatte. Fanni entsetze sich, aber als wahre Christin mußte sie notgedrungen verzeihen, Monika war es egal. Ida hatte bereits von Hugo erfahren, daß ein Mann in meinem Haus wohnte, was sie wohl als Erleichterung empfand. Das Problem war meine Mutter.

Alice knew right from the beginning, she was the only one to whom I had ever revealed the name of Regine's real father. Fannie was appalled, but as a true Christian felt herself forced to forgive; Monika didn't care. Ida had already learned from Hugo that there was a man living in my house, something that probably came as a relief to her. The problem was my mother.

My mother-in-law lent me this book and I enjoyed it so much that I'm eager to read Ingrid Noll's other works. Reading a book in its original German is a completely different experience than reading something translated from English, I find, and the nuances of the language really come through.

Here's a synopsis from the back of the book:

Die dreiundachtzigjährige Charlotte erwartet Besuch: Hugo, ihren Schwager, für den sie zeit ihres Lebens eine Schwäche hatte. Sollten sie doch noch einen romantischen Lebensabend miteinander verbringen können? Wird, was lange währt, endlich gut? Ingrid Nolls Heldin erzählt anrührend und tragikomisch zugleich von einer weitverzweigten Familie, die es in sich hat. Nicht zufällig ist Cora, die ihren Liebhaber einst in der Toskana unter den Terrazzofliesen verschwinden ließ, Charlottes Enkelin...

The eighty-three-year-old Charlotte is expecting a visitor: Hugo, her brother-in-law for whom she has had a lifelong weakness. Will they be able to spend their remaining years together after all? Are good things really worth waiting for? Ingrid Noll's heroine tells a simultaneously touching and tragicomic tale of a wide-reaching family that is a force to be reckoned with. It's no coincidence that Cora (who once let a lover 'disappear' under the terrazzo tiles in the Toscana) is Charlotte's granddaughter.

This isn't a long novel but we've got unrequieted love, jealousy, infidelity, illegitimate children, cross-dressing and maybe even a little murder all in one neat package. Curious? Give it a try.

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At February 21, 2008 5:19 p.m., Blogger Maribeth said...

A friend gave Hubby a book written in German and although his spoken German is very good, he says it's just too exhausting to read in another language at this time in his life.

At February 21, 2008 6:12 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you feel better soon. I was Wow' can read german literature? *Bows* to your knowledge and patience.
Expat in Stuttgart

At February 21, 2008 6:48 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

I've heard about her. Sounds like just what I need.... A short novel ;)

At February 21, 2008 11:23 p.m., Blogger Diane Mandy said...

That was the book? Wow! I am so impressed at the moment.

At February 22, 2008 12:27 a.m., Blogger Mike B said...

Human nature is what makes the classics classic, regardless of language ... nicht war?

At February 22, 2008 6:36 p.m., Blogger Thimbleanna said...

Oooh, hope you feel better. Tell hubby you need a vacation LOL. Very, very impressed that you can read German lit! The book sounds like it has everything -- and certainly enough excitement for the doldrums of winter!

At February 24, 2008 3:20 p.m., Blogger Betty said...

Oh, I want to read that now .. in English. I remember once looking for a short novel (feeling lazy) and finding a German one about a man whose thoughts were consumed about the mathematical likelihood of coincidences. His life suddenly hit a meteor wall of very unlikely "coincidences." Interesting ideas.

At February 25, 2008 12:35 a.m., Blogger KW said...

You've inspired me; I'm stealing the Open Book Meme and I'm going to update my so-called blog with it.


At February 26, 2008 11:17 p.m., Blogger christina said...

maribeth - I know - It's REALLY hard at first and you think you'll never get it but then suddenly something goes click and you're in.

Expat in Stuttgart - Well, since I've been living here for about 100 years it doesn't really matter to me any more which language I read in and there are some pretty good German books out there.

CanSwiss - It's a 'read it in a day' type of book. Have you seen that movie Die Apothekerin? I think that was based on one of her other books.

Diane - It just happened to be lying around here. :-)

mike - Absolutely! People are people wherever you go.

Thimbleanna - I've had a few years to practice! I liked the way the story was told by a little old lady who one would never suspect had had such an interesting life.

betty - I don't think it's been translated yet but there might be something other of hers out there.

kiweenie - Yes! Dust off the ol' blog and go for it.

At February 27, 2008 4:55 p.m., Blogger swenglishexpat said...

Interesting book, and author! So you picked a non-English book, I knew I should have gone with my Swedish book that actually was closer. It also had much shorter sentences! :-( The one about The Beatles' recordings that I quoted had extremely long sentences! LOL Tschüss!


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