"The Wall" by Marlen Haushofer

By Marlen Haushofer

Reviewed by Collee

ISBN 9780811231947

The Wall, written in 1968, is a study of a lone woman's life after she awakens one morning to find herself cut off from the rest of the world behind an invisible wall in the Austrian mountains. The account is her personal report written with no breaks or chapters. She becomes caretaker to the hunting dog that was in the cabin with her and eventually, to a cow and a cat that emerge from the forest. Much of this novel is a bare bones account of her daily life; foraging, planting, harvesting, fortifying her living space, chopping wood and tending to the animals. Not much emotion is wasted on grieving the life she had before, although she struggles with the unending solitude. I loved the simplicity and elegance of this book.  The Wall is many things- a speculative/dystopian tale, a story of survival, but for me, the heart of it lies with the inimitable connection that can exist between humans and animals. If you live with an animal, you'll definitely want to hold it close after this reading. Unless it's a fish.

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