Women As Lovers by Elfriede Jelinek

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Synopsis

The setting is an idyllic Alpine village where a woman's underwear factory nestles in the woods. Two factory workers, Brigitte and Paula, dream and talk about finding happiness, a comfortable home and a good man. They realize that their quest will be as hard as work at the factory. Brigitte subordinates her feelings and goes for Heinz, a young, plump, up-and-coming businessman. With Paula, feelings and dreams become confused. She gets pregnant by Erich, the forestry worker. He's handsome, so they marry. Brigitte gets it right. Paula gets it wrong. Using the conventions and language of romantic fiction, Elfriede Jelinek has written a moving tragedy whose power lies in its refusal to take at face value its characters' dreams and aspirations.
 

About Elfriede Jelinek

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Works by Elfriede Jelinek include The Piano Teacher (2002), Women as Lovers (1995), Lust (1993), and Wonderful, Wonderful Times (1990), all translated by P.J. Blumenthal and published by Serpent's Tail Press. She has received over twenty literary prizes and awards in addition to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004. A professor of Romance languages in Dresden, Victor Klemperer wrote several major works on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French literature before he was expelled from his post in 1935. He lived through the war in Dresden with his wife, Eva. Klemperer's secret diaries were thought for many years to have been lost or suppressed by the Communist authorities of East Germany, where Klemperer lived after the war. He wife deposited them after his death in 1960 in the Dresden Landesarchiv, where they remained until they were uncovered by Victor Nowojski, a former pupil, who edited and transcribed them for publication in Germany. Their reception there was a national event. The diaries have been translated into twelve languages. About the Translator Martin Chalmers has translated, from the German, books by Hubert Fichte, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Erich Fried. He is a frequent contributor to the New Statesman and The Independent, and lives in London.
 
Published July 1, 1995 by Serpent's Tail. 192 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Both women set out to charm and claim their men, Brigitte with a bright tint in her hair and a steady diet of sex, Paula with rich food and drink and one quick roll in the hay.

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Publishers Weekly

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This brief, pitiless novel advances such a narrow, bleak vision of the human race that one wonders why its author, who apparently finds everything pointless, saw the point in writing it. In oddly punc

Jul 03 1995 | Read Full Review of Women As Lovers

Publishers Weekly

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In oddly punctuated, repetitive prose reminiscent of Gertrude Stein's but lacking Stein's energetic compassion, Jelinek's (Lust and The Piano Teacher) latest doesn't have much good to say about love or marriage or sex or babies.

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