The Wall by Marlen Haushofer #review

Marlen Haushofer


Title : The Wall
Author: Marlen Haushofer Translated by Shaun Whiteside
Published: 2013 – First published in 1963
Pages:: 244
Format:: Print


“I can allow myself to write the truth; all the people for whom I have lied throughout my life are dead…” writes the heroine of Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall, a quite ordinary, unnamed middle-aged woman who awakens to find she is the last living human being. Surmising her solitude is the result of a too successful military experiment, she begins the terrifying work of not only survival, but self-renewal. The Wall is at once a simple and moving talk — 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 a disturbing meditation on 20th century history.


I enjoy watching movie trailers, I’ll visit IMDB and check out trailers for movies from time to time. See what’s coming, what looks good. Like a book cover I can often be sold on a good trailer. Once I found one for a movie called The Wall it was I discovered based on a book. As it was a foreign language film it wasn’t being promoted by Hollywood, it was already out on DVD I found so I went and ordered the DVD and book right away. I had the DVD for a couple months before I watched it spellbound and heart broken for this fictional woman. The book sat on my TBR shelf for a long time and due to school and life I just didn’t get a change to read it till now. I’m sorry I waited so long. I’m sorry I didn’t know about this book sooner. I’m sorry everyone doesn’t know about this book, that its not required reading in schools is a loss.

This everywoman who is like no one, who has strength and determination that many would envy. There are many feminist fictional titles most notably The Handmaids Tale. Margaret Atwood being the go to author for this genre. I can’t say I’m well versed on the genre, I have much to read and learn but The Wall is so captivating and one that isn’t nearly as well known but I certainly feel after reading it that it should be. The unnamed woman who’s story pulled me in and made me so sad, so proud, so amazed by her courage and determination. It has been said it is a perfect example of clinical depression, perhaps so. I’m no expert on mental illness either, but I am a reader, and I was mesmerised by this story.

I cannot recommend this book enough. The movie was also well done and did justice to the book. A rare occurrence indeed.

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