Luck by Gert Hofmann

Luck

Gert Hofmann

This takes some getting into! It moves slowly, and very little happens. At first I didn't enjoy it, but as it went on the slow pace became almost hypnotic and I began to be drawn in to the unhappy world of a family breaking up in a most undramatic way. Despite the sad tone, the novel has its humour, too, particularly in the naively comic questions of the little sister. A haunting book which despite the lack of incident, keeps coming back to me.

Extract

Mother didn't love Father any more, it had just gradually happened like that. You could tell by looking at them both. With Father you could tell from the front, with Mother it was easier from the side. You could see the way she wrinkled up her nose when he asked her for something. One time we were standing in the nursery, but we weren't playing. Father and Mother were standing in the corridor, our door was half-open. Then Mother said it to his face. She didn't say it vey loud, but I heard it. I understood it too. If my sister happened to hear it, then she didn't understand it. What did she say? she asked. Tell me what she said.

Parallels
  • What Maisie Knew by Henry James
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett