Die Blätter des Herbstbringers (Fabienne Siegmund)

Die Blätter des Herbstbringers (literally: The Autumn Bringer’s Leaves) is a novel by Fabienne Siegmund. There is no English translation available as far as I know.
Finished on: 25.7.2022

Content Note: rape, sexualized violence, intimate partner violence

When they were very little, Ari and his best friend Mira witnessed the murder of their parents. Only that nobody believes that it actually was murder. Now they are both adults, but both are still caught up in what happened then. Especially Ari is barely able to move on with his life. Meanwhile, a strange figure roams the city at night, catching criminals for the police, leaving behind small gemstone leaves. Dubbed the Autumn Bringer by the press, they seem to have a connection to Mira and Ari.

Die Blätter des Herbstbringers was a bit of an exhausting read for me. I was constantly debating whether I should finish it at all. I did in the end, but I could never really connect to the book.

The book cover showing leaves in fall colors. There is a blue eye in one of the leaves.
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Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)

Rebecca is a novel by Daphne du Maurier.
Finished on: 6.2.2021

Working as a companion to Mrs van Hopper has brought the unnamed protagonist to Monte Carlo where Mrs van Hopper spies Maxim de Winter, whose somewhat tragic story precedes him: he is a widower and lives at the grand estate of Manderley, now all alone. Mrs van Hopper arranges a meeting with Maxim de Winter which also introduces the protagonist to him. When Mrs van Hopper falls ill, the protagonist and Maxim de Winter start to spend more time with each other and finally he asks her to marry him. But living in Manderley, where the shadow of Maxim’s deceased wife Rebecca hangs over everything and her housekeeper Mrs Danvers makes sure it doesn’t leave, proves quite a challenge for them.

I’ve been meaning to read Rebecca for a while, and despite its renown I actually managed to stay spoiler-free – which was a good thing. But even if I had known more about how things would go down, I doubt that I would have been any less engaged in the book. Rebecca is a classic for a reason, a hypnotic novel that doesn’t let go of you easily.

The book cover showing a drawing of a young woman in front of a huge estate.
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Prinz Friedrich von Homburg [The Prince of Homburg] (Heinrich von Kleist)

Prinz Friedrich von Homburg is a drama by Heinrich von Kleist.
Finished on: 21.10.2019

Prince Friedrich is an officer under the Great Elector. They have been at war quite some time, and Friedrich is exhausted. When he sleepwalks, the Great Elector plays a trick on him and Friedrich declares his love for the Elector’s niece, Princess Natalie. He even obtains her glove. The next morning, Friedrich is too confused to pay attention to his orders in the battle. When he therefore doesn’t follow them, he is arrested by the Great Elector, despite coming out victorious. The charge carries a death sentence, but maybe not everything is lost yet.

Prinz Friedrich von Homburg is a beautifully written play that raises some moral issues that partly resonated with me, but overall, I didn’t get into it as much as I’d hoped. Maybe I would need to see it performed instead of reading it.

The book cover, monochrome in bright yellow, as is usual for the publisher Reclam.
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Die verwechselten Töchter (Maria Anna Sager)

Die verwechselten Töchter [literally: The Exchanged Daughters] is an epistolary novel by Maria Anna Sager (also written as Maria Anna Sagar).
Finished on: 26.4.2019
[You can read it here in German.]

In a rather poor neighborhood, two girls are born at almost exactly the same time, and both are called Klara. Their mothers are fast friends, and the two girls grow up inseparable and often indistinguishable. When the mother of the older Klara is called away by circumstances to acquire a more affluent position, both Klaras remain with the mother of the younger Klara. When the older Klara’s mother calls for her daughter a few years later, the younger Klara’s mother hopes to find a better life for her daughter and sends the younger Klara in the older Klara’s stead – a decision that causes troubles for all of them.

Die verwechselten Töchter is an almost forgotten classic of Austrian literature, one of the first (epistolary) novels by a woman to be published at all in German. And it is still a very good read that I can absolutely recommend.

The book cover showing the mirrored silhouette of a woman with a fancy hairdo.
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The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

The Help is a novel by Kathryn Stockett. It was recently adapted into a film.

1960  in Jackson, Mississippi: Aibileen is a maid who is currently working for the Leefolt family, where she especially loves taking care of Mae Mobley, the Leefolts’ little girl. Her best friend is Minny who – quite contrary to Aibileen – usually gets in trouble because she won’t hold her peace. Which is not the best course of action for a maid. But when the white Skeeter looks for a maid to talk about her life, so she can write a book about it, it’s Aibilieen who jumps at the chance.

It took me a bit to get into the book but when I did it was a really nice, flowing read with some great characters.

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