In the High Peaks

Sunday, February 12, 2012

German Writer Peter Härtling

Yes, Härtling in a moment, but I want to say I finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy, I felt satisfied, I'm glad I read it, I liked it, and I won't soon forget it. I found myself excusing two deus ex machina scenes, saying to myself, "Oh, well, I don't mind, I like you, Book, even with your flaws.

And, did you know, Margot Livesey, who has lived in Boston for decades, was born in Scotland? I should have read the Acknowledgments first. That's what happens with an e-book. You can't leaf through a book to see all these treats, though they are listed in the Table of Contents. It doesn't help that I usually don't bother with the TOC.

Oh!! Crutches by Peter Härtling. What a wonderful book, a deeply fulfilling human story of a boy and a crippled soldier who helped each other survive the ugly aftermath of war. I was so profoundly moved by this little novel. Yes, I cried and cried at the end. Not because of anything tragic, but because of the pathos of the entire tale. It's true, all relationships come to an end sometime, and sometimes that is very sad. I must purchase a copy. Yes, it's out of print, but perhaps I can dig up a copy somewhere. I would like to read it again, and again.

Härtling was born in Chemnitz in 1933. He's a well-known poet, prose writer, and children's book author. His father died in a Russian POW camp in 1945. His family fled from the Red Army in the early spring of 1945 and landed in Austria, just as Tom does in Crutches. Hartling has written several autobiographal books about this time as well, though they haven't been translated into English. Darn! Wikipedia has an entry about Hartling, but it's difficult to come up with additional information that's in English. There's plenty in German, however.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read Härtling yet but this sounds like a great book to start with. Thanks for the review. Now I have to find out what it is called in German.