Friday, February 25, 2011

Book of Choice: The Wall (not Pink Floyd)

A woman spends a few days in an Alpine hut and when she wakes up one morning, an invisible wall stands between her and the rest of the world. The wall surrounds the hut and a good portion of the mountains it stands in and the woman discovers that people outside are dead. With a dog, a cat and a cow for company, the woman (who remains nameless throughout the book) faces all the difficulties of a live on her own, to her knowledge the last living being on earth.

At first glance, it's Robinson Crusoe on a mountain. At second glance, it's a voyage into the woman's The woman reacts like I think I would in many situations and this is a big part of what makes the book so enjoyable for me. She takes a lot of her strength out of the company of her animals, even though it also brings her a lot of worries and heartbreak, which I absolutely can relate to. I suspect that I might be happier sharing such a situation with animals than humans. Haushofer also has a gift for describing nature and the change of the seasons.

Despite all the sadness, it's an utopia. The woman struggles with her life behind the wall, but she also welcomes it. She never fully explores whether she is actually shut in and she never makes an attempt to break out (digging a tunnel would be possible). She talks about it, but doesn't do it, she seems content enough to remain in her little walled-off section of the world. It's not so wonderful that I would wish to join her right away, but it's idyllic enough to make me think: if it has to happen that way, this isn't too bad.

The 12 book for the Library Challenge.

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