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19/09/2007

Julia Franck's novel "Lady Midday"

Julia Franck: Lady Midday (Die Mittagsfrau)
Novel
Hardcover | 432 pages | ISBN 9783100226006 | Sep 2007 | S. Fischer Verlag

English excerpt

Rights sold:
Denmark: Aschehoug
Netherlands: Wereldbibliotheek

The book:
Helene's idyllic childhood in rural Germany comes to an abrupt end on the outbreak of the First World War. Her father is sent to the Eastern Front, returning home only to die, and her Jewish mother withdraws into confusion to escape the neighbours’ hostility. Helene calls her blind in the heart, and fears her mother’s growing coldness, as she hardly seems to notice her daughters any more. Helene wants to study medicine, an unusual dream for a woman at the beginning of the last century. After her father’s death, she and her sister Martha move to the Berlin of the roaring twenties, and while Martha meets up with her beloved Leontine again, Helene meets Carl. When he dies shortly before their engagement, she loses all sense of existence. She buries herself in her work and hopes to survive life. A certain Wilhelm introduces himself at a party, an enthusiastic engineer who wants to build autobahns and marry Helene. The fast-failing marriage takes Helene to Stettin, where her son is born. The love that her son demands, the closeness he needs become increasingly unbearable for her, and she soon can’t stop thinking about escape. Then she makes a colossal decision.
Two world wars, hopes, loneliness and love – and the realisation that all can be lost. Julia Franck tells the story of a life caught up in the machinery of a terrible age. An unusual family novel, a forceful epos and the story of a fascinating woman.


© Thorsten Greve© Thorsten Greve
The author: Julia Franck was born in Berlin in 1970. She studied American and German literature and philosophy at the FU Berlin. She has received several awards, including the Marie Luise Kaschnitz Prize in 2004 and the Roswitha Medal of the City of Gandersheim in 2005. She spent the year 2005 in the Villa Massimo in Rome. Her most recent publications are "Liebediener" (1999), "Bauchlandung. Geschichten zum Anfassen" (2000) and "Lagerfeuer" (2003).
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