“A distinct and lovely novella.” —The New York Times Book Review

Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman

Friedrich Christian Delius; Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch


A revelation of humanism and hope almost musical in its intensity.”— The Guardian

In Rome one January afternoon in 1943, a young German woman is on her way to listen to a Bach concert at the Lutheran church. The war is for her little more than a daydream, until she realizes that her husband might never return. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, winner of the prestigious Georg Büchner prize, is a mesmerizing psychological portrait of the human need to safeguard innocence and integrity at any cost—even at the risk of excluding reality. More than just the story of this single woman, it is a compelling and credible description of a typical young German woman during the Nazi era.

About Friedrich Christian Delius

One of the most critically acclaimed contemporary German writers, was born in 1943 and lives in Berlin and Rome. He has published fifteen novels and five poetry collections, and has recently written the libretto for Prospero by Luca Lombardi. He has won most of Germany’s prestigious literary awards—including the Joseph Breitbach Prize, the Georg Büchner Prize, and the Critics Prize—and his books have been translated into seventeen languages.

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