The Wall

The Wall

Summary

'The air trembled, gold and green and clear, at the edges of the forest'

A woman takes a holiday in the Austrian mountains, spending a few days with her cousin and his wife in their hunting lodge. When the couple fails to return from a walk, the woman sets off to look for them. But her journey reaches a sinister and inexplicable dead end. She discovers only a transparent wall behind which there seems to be no life. Trapped alone behind the mysterious wall she begins the arduous work of survival.

This is at once a simple account of potatoes and beans, of hoping for a calf, of counting matches, of forgetting the taste of sugar and the use of one's name, and simultaneously a disturbing dissection of the place of human beings in the natural world.

'It makes you sick, because, if she wasn't a woman, everyone would be reading it, like Robinson Crusoe' Sheila Heti

VINTAGE EARTH is a series of books that reveals our ever-changing relationship with the environment. These are stories old and young, set in worlds real or imagined, that allow us to explore our connection to the natural world. Transformative, wild, surprising and essential, these novels take on the most urgent story of our times.

Reviews

  • It's a novel that contrives to be, by turns, utopian and dystopian, an idyll and a nightmare... Every joint and sinew of the story is restless with a sense of threat
    London Review of Books

About the author

Marlen Haushofer

Marie Helene Haushofer was born in Frauenstein, Austria in 1920. Following the Second World War, she worked in her husband's dentistry practice. She began publishing short stories in magazines from 1946. She enjoyed success with her novella The Fifth Year, which was published in 1952 but her most enduring work was The Wall, first published in 1963 and now considered a classic of dystopian fiction. She died in 1970.
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