A haunting feminist sci-fi masterpiece and international bestseller that is “as absorbing as Robinson Crusoe” (Doris Lessing)
While vacationing in a hunting lodge in the Austrian mountains, a middle-aged woman awakens one morning to find herself separated from the rest of the world by an invisible wall. With a cat, a dog, and a cow as her sole companions, she learns how to survive and cope with her loneliness.
Allegorical yet deeply personal and absorbing, The Wall is at once a critique of modern civilization, a nuanced and loving portrait of a relationship between a woman and her animals, a thrilling survival story, a Cold War-era dystopian adventure, and a truly singular feminist classic.
About the Author
Marlen Haushofer (1920–1970) was an Austrian author of short stories, novels, radio plays, and children’s books. Her work has had a strong influence on many German-language writers, such as the Nobel Prize–winner Elfriede Jelinek, who dedicated one of her plays to her. The Wall was adapted into the 2012 film, directed by Julian Pölsler and starring Martina Gedeck.
Shaun Whiteside’s translations from the German include classics by Freud, Musil, and Nietzsche.
Claire Louise-Bennett is the author of Pond and Checkout 19.
An extraordinarily interesting writer, always underappreciated.
— Elfriede Jelinek
The Wall is a wonderful novel. It is not often that you can say only a woman could have written this book, but women in particular will understand the heroine's loving devotion to the details of making and keeping life, every day felt as a victory against everything that would like to undermine and destroy.
— Doris Lessing
The Wall is a novel that contrives to be, by turns, utopian and dystopian, an idyll and a nightmare. In her isolation behind the wall, together with her animals, the woman discovers a new life, in comparison with which her existence before she came to the mountains seems trivial and pointless. The natural world which it describes with such rapt attention is cupped in the larger receptacle of a vivid and sinister dream, a dream we seem to have had many times before and which on each retelling leads to the same scene of horror at its climax.
— Nicholas Spice - London Review of Books
Brilliant in its sustainment of dread, in its peeling away of old layers of reality to expose a raw way of seeing and feeling. Doris Lessing once remarked that only a woman could have written this novel, and it's true: I know of no closer study in claustrophobia and liberation, and of an independence whose severity is at once ecstatic and doomed. I’ve read The Wall three times already and am nowhere near finished.
— Nicole Krauss
It is about our reasons for living, self-sufficiency, solitude, men, women, war, and love, and the problem of other minds. And the animals in this book—oh! I don’t understand why this book is not considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century. I have been anxiously pushing it on everyone I know, and now I push it on you.
— Sheila Heti - The Paris Review