Daniel Kehlmann: Du hättest gehen sollen (You Should Have Left)


The latest addition to my website is Daniel Kehlmann‘s Du hättest gehen sollen (You Should Have Left). This is a short (ninety-six pages) novel and a slightly different approach from Kehlmann, in that it is something of a horror story. A family – unnamed narrator and comedy scriptwriter husband, his wife, a beautiful actress, called Susanna, and their four-year old daughter, Esther – rents a holiday home in a remote part of the country, with a view of mountains and two icebergs. The marriage is under strain as the two are always squabbling. One or two odd things happen in the house – strange dreams, a picture that has not been seen before, getting lost in the house. While out for a walk in the rain, both decide that they have had enough and decide to leave at once. As she made the booking, he goes to her phone to get the number of the owner and finds out why she has been texting so much. A big row ensues and she leaves with the car. The narrator is left in the house with their daughter and strange things start happening, not helped by the weird local shopkeeper telling him that Devil had once built a tower there and that most people who rented the house left early, one even disappearing, never to be found. Gradually, it gets worse. The book got mixed reviews in Germany but I thought that, while not Kehlmann’s best work, it wasn’t too bad, somewhat reminiscent of Mark Danielewski‘s House of Leaves. It will come out in English in June 2017.

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