Marlen Haushofer’s dystopian novel „The Wall“ presents its heroine and the reader of her diary with a rather weird situation: Overnight she has become separated from the world outside by an invisible wall. Assuming her isolation to be the result of a military experiment gone awry, she begins the terrifying work of survival and self-renewal.
Normally she lives in the city. Her hosts, her cousin with her husband, have failed to return from am evening out in the village nearby. A dog, a cat and a cow, who turns out to be pregnant, are her only companions in the woods. Like a female Robinson Crusoe the first-person narrator learns to live amidst and with nature.
I really didn’t expect to find much to enjoy in The Wall, but I was wrong. It is a very elemental story,very human, simple, not complex, but very touching and emotional. I loved the encounter with the warmth of animals, their different characters, their need and reliability, the closeness you get to them, more than to any human being.
I’m sure, men don’t like this novel. In the end, when you think the heroine has found a way to survive, there is only aggression and devastation, and you needn’t speculate long about its source: It can only be male, and this cannot but make a female reader like me very angry.
You never get an answer to questions like who put up the wall and why and if all
the living creatures outside the wall are dead. Later, when I informed myself about the author Marlen Haushofer, I read that she suffered from an unfeeling husband in an unfulfilled marriage.