What a marvelous book. It is beyond me why this novel is classified a feminist classic as it holds up as something great no matter whose sex wrote it. This is a story of redemption under grave circumstances. It is a tale of determination and persistence in the face of uncertain and daunting circumstances. The novel could be deemed an instruction manual on how to live a life with one’s own self, alone and entrusted with responsibilities perhaps too great for the typical human being handed them. But the narrator prevails and actually thrives in her seclusion, and is given the opportunity for true self-esteem and meaning in her life. And that is not a feminist theme but rather something universal to be strived for no matter what sex one is, or even regarding our present day, working out perhaps what sex one isn’t.
Marlen Haushofer writes in an engaging style, conversing with the reader as if on solid ground and friendly terms, tolerant at all times for the fate she has been faced with, and in my eyes kindly hoping that we might do the same, given similar circumstances. Through her lot of characters she inherits (all domesticated animals), Haushofer develops their personalities emotionally and spiritually to the degree we become as well attached to them, and worry for their happiness, good health, and safety. This book is as good as any I have read, and so accessible that it caused me no care to look a word up or write one down. Sometimes the simplest form works out to be the best. Haushofer certainly found a winning voice within the covers of this little masterpiece of fine literature.