Wait for November (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
First published in West Germany in 1955 as Spätestens im November, Hans Erich Nossack’s Wait for November has recently been translated for the English-speaking world by Ruth Hein. A compelling, thought-provoking novel, Wait for November at first appears to be simply a dark love story, a tale of adulterous passion. A closer look, however, reveals a dreamy, almost surrealistic look at another world. In short, the protagonist experiences two worlds, one known and one unknown, and the latter permanently alters her perception of the former.
Nossack develops the simplest of plots in this story, thereby directing attention toward the characters’ thoughts and the central theme. Covering about six month’s time, the novel is divided into three parts, each developing a different stage in the relationship between Berthold Möncken and Marianne Helldegen.
The style of Wait for November is most striking. Its vague but hauntingly perceptive manner is amplified by the use of stream-of-consciousness narration: the reader views the entire story through the eyes and mind of Marianne Helldegen, who—one learns at the end of the story—is dead. In telling the story, she erratically shifts from the present, when she is dead, to the past, even relating episodes from her life before Berthold entered it; yet it is never difficult to follow her narrative or understand her perceptions. Compatible with this narrative technique...
(The entire section is 2006 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Library Journal. CVII, July, 1982, p. 1346.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. July 25, 1982, p. 10.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, July 18, 1982, p. 9.
The New Yorker. LVIII, June 21, 1982, p. 121.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXI, May 14, 1982, p. 204.
(The entire section is 32 words.)