Marlen Haushofer: Die Tapetentür (The Jib Door)


The latest addition to my website is Marlen Haushofer‘s Die Tapetentür (The Jib Door). The novel is part diary/part third person narrative and tells of Annette, a thirty-year old librarian in Vienna. Annette lives on her own and is very happy to do so. She has had boyfriends and currently has a boyfriend, Alexander, whom she is growing somewhat tired of. He is always talking about himself and keeps telling her how indispensable he is at the institute where he works. When he tells her that he is to go on a six-month exchange to Paris, she is not in the least bit disappointed; indeed, she welcomes it. After his departure, she enjoys her own company, though occasionally sees friends. But then she starts to have twinges of loneliness, nothing too strong. When she has to go to a lawyer’s office to sort out the inheritance of her father (who left her mother twenty-three years ago), she meets the lawyer, Gregor. At first she does not take to him, but they start dating and, eventually, she gets pregnant and she moves into his flat. Gradually, she changes. She is not, as she says more than once, the woman she used to be. We follow her changes, as she moves from becoming an independent woman to a dependent wife, at the same time, emphasising the difference between men and women and, by extension, between her and Gregor. It is a fine novel about the psychology of a woman and the psychological differences between men and women.

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