Marianne, referred to as the Woman, a thirty-year-old translator of French and a suburban housewife in an unnamed West German city. She, her husband, Bruno, and their child live in a bungalow on a hill overlooking the city. Marianne is lonely, as are the other characters of the novel. In spite of that, she suggests to Bruno that he leave her after he has returned from a business trip. There appears to be no specific reason for her suggestion. Marianne translates from the French that the ideal man is someone who loves her for what she is and will become. The idea that her husband leave her comes to her as an “illumination.” Whether this separation is permanent is not known.
Bruno, a sales manager for a porcelain firm. He has brown eyes that can observe without being observed. After his return from a business trip to Finland, where he did not know the language and felt very lonely, he says to Marianne that he felt that they were bound to each other but that he could now exist without her. After spending the night in a nearby hotel where they had gone for dinner, Marianne tells him that he should go to live with Franziska. Bruno does so. After a fight with the actor at Marianne’s impromptu party, where Bruno accused the actor of wanting to be his wife’s lover, he and the actor play Ping-Pong together and are the last to leave the party. They leave together.
(The entire section is 593 words.)