Friday, 23 December 2011

Fontane, Theodor "Effi Briest"

Fontane, Theodor "Effi Briest" (German: Effi Briest) - 1894

"Unworldly young Effi Briest is married off to Baron von Innstetten, an austere and ambitious civil servant twice her age, who has little time for his new wife. Isolated and bored, Effi finds comfort and distraction in a brief liaison with Major Crampas, a married man with a dangerous reputation. But years later, when Effi has almost forgotten her affair, the secret returns to haunt her, with fatal consequences. Considered to be Fontane's greatest novel, Effi Briest is a humane, unsentimental portrait of a young woman torn between her duties as a wife and mother and the instincts of her heart."

I re-read this book a while ago because I love to read classics and it had been a while.

Fontane managed the description of the society of the late 19th century excellently ( not that I know from personal experience :-)), we just have to be lucky to live today. But is it so much easier today than it was back then? Some things have changed, life has not become easier that way.

The whole situation Effi - Instetten - Crampas - is doomed to failure, of course. Although Instetten has his doubts in between whether he is doing the right thing, he feels obliged to keep up appearances.

I really liked the phrase of Geheimrätin (Privvy Councillor) Zwicker: “Why are there stoves and fireplaces?” Well, it would never come to this story in that case. And that would have been a pity.

Fontane is one of the best German writers of the time. He gives us a good insight into a society that seems strange to us but which we still can not get enough of.

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