Last Updated September 5, 2023.
The narrator is a young woman who, upon the death of a close friend, decides to write the story of the friend's life using letters and documents she finds.
Christa T. is the subject of the narrator's study. Through research, the narrator finds that Christa struggled to remain a distinct individual in the post-war days of Germany. The narrator tells of Christa's career as a teacher, of her marriage and children, and her desire to be a writer. Unfortunately, Christa dies at a very young age due to leukemia.
Kostia is a prominent character is Christa's story. While in college, they have an affair while also sharing a love for literature. Kostia breaks Christa's heart when he falls for another woman.
Justus is the man Christa eventually marries. Their marriage is ultimately dissatisfying for Christa, as Justus discourages her creative and curious ways.