Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Love Virtually - Daniel Glattauer




Translated by Katharina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch 

'I've fallen in love with your words.'


I love how this novel starts. It’s a lovely, amusing bit of confusion and genuine error that leads to a pair of strangers being in contact via email. Once they are in contact, they exchange a few messages, and then they begin to enjoy the correspondence with each other, and start to reveal more about themselves and to share aspects of their lives, their hopes and their pain.

The email format of the narrative and the way this allows us to peek directly at the personal and intimate thoughts being exchanged between these two people alone means this is a very pacy read and one that makes the reader very inquisitive.

There is an excitement and urgency to the correspondence when it is in full flow:

‘Isn’t it exciting that you can get involved with someone you don’t know, someone you’ve never set eyes on and probably never will, someone you expect nothing from, of whom you can’t be sure that you’ll ever get anything halfway adequate in return?’

The tension is strong and builds as the book progresses and the relationship grows. Things start to become more serious, perhaps they do start to expect something from each other, and where will this lead? In particular there is the major question of whether Emmi and Leo will indeed every meet each other face to face.

I felt that the author has gotten to the heart of both his characters, written both of them with warmth, and created humour, romance and also sadness between them. They are complex characters, believable and flawed. Emmi is married after all. Why is she even seeking this closeness with another man?

It’s a fun, modern and intelligent romantic read. It makes you think about how much you can really get to know someone through written correspondence. Before it would have been letters, here it is emails. But the sentiment is the same, and therefore it gives the story a timeless edge too. Can a man and woman fall in love and feel a strong bond without having met? Will they every meet?

You’ll have to read to find out! Recommended.


Published by Maclehose Press, an imprint of Quercus

Thanks very much to the publisher for kindly sending a copy of this novel to read and review.

Reviewed by Lindsay Healy

There is a sequel to this novel, entitled Every Seventh Wave.

You can follow the twitter account for the book @lovevirtually 

13 comments:

  1. A lot of people have good things to say about this, so it must be good...

    ...still not convinced though ;)

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Tony. It's a quick, entertaining read so I think that is a big part of the appeal.

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  2. I'm very fond of this novel. Very. And I think you captured it so well.
    I thought it was lovely and thought provoking at he same time.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Caroline, and for your kind comments. I will be over to read your review of this one if you have one.

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  3. Ah, yes. This is another one I've got to add to my reading list... Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Rachel Hope you enjoy this one too.

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  4. I've seen a couple of reviews of this over the course of German Literature Month and it does sound interesting, although the plot sounds very familiar and I can't think where from!

    Marie
    http://www.girlvsbookshelf.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Marie. I've seen several reviews for this one around the blogs. I'm not sure what the plot is similar to.

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  5. Sounds like a happy-ever-after to me!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Wendy. It could be, but it might not be! I have to read the sequel...

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  6. I haven't read it, but heard the BBC R4 adaptation earlier this year with David Tennant as Leo (swoon). It has really stuck with me, but has almost put me off reading it. It is a lovely story, with a slightly ambiguous ending if I remember correctly. The slightly different narrative style gives it added interest.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Sarah. I bet the adaptation was really good. I remember seeing that on the front of my edition, that it had been on Radio 4. You are right, the ending is rather open and leaves us hanging wondering what will happen. The style definitely does make it more interesting.

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