Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

Source – review copy

Daniel Glattauer is an Austrian writer born in Vienna ,he studied education and art history ,he then began working in newspapers as a columnist ,his columns for the austrian paper Der standard were collected into a book called counting ants .I first heard of this book over a year ago from my German twitter friend Tati that raved about it

Well to Love Virtually what is it about ? ,well I pleased to say it does something I have wanted to see in Literary fiction for a long time and that is use modern tech as a drive or device for a  book in this case it is e mails so he has also dragged the Epistolary novel in to the 21st century with much style and vigour ,like Samuel Richardson in the 18th century it is love that is the driving force of this novel .


I would like to cancel my subscription .Can I do so by e-mail ?

best wishes,

E Rothner

Emmi’s first misdirected e-mail to Leo Leike ,not Like magazine .

Tha is how it starts a number of missent e-mails a chance encounter ,how often have you miss wrote a e-mail and got a postmaster notification ,well this one time Emmi a married women middle-aged women doesn’t she sends it to Leo Leike ,who replies ,she replies and so on ,as the e-mails unfold over what seems a small amount of time as you read but if you follow the timeline is weeks and months these to lonely souls ,er maybe not lonely maybe searchers would be a better term ,they look over the fence and see something the like and start to flirt ,a love affair of words unfolds ,he loves the size of her feet ? This is written with great panache ,you see how what you say unseen can sometimes be misinterpreted by the other person ,also the power of words to attract people to your personality ,but as we near the end there is a stumbling block should they meet ,this is where the virtual world and real world may be miles apart Leo has in this time meet Emmi’s friend and had drinks they did once sit in a cafe but didn’t really know who was who but have possibilities as the just drank at a set time and didn’t meet in a busy place on a weekend .


The thought of actual contact seems to fill you with panic ,Leo .We will see each other , and we’ll like each other, and we’ll talk to each other just as we always have ,but this time with our mouths .We’ll feel comfortable with each other from the word go, and after an hour we’ll no longer be able to conceive of what it would have been like had we  never set eye on each other .

part of a E-mail as Emmi tries to tempt Leo into a meet .

Now do they meet ,what happens well ,buy the book LOL you’ll love it I hope I did ,I am a romantic ,I meet my darling Amanda via a chat room and she made me the man I am now ,so this story really touched me I remember our texts and phone calls before we ever meet and the nervousness in meeting and I can say Glatteur has caught this perfectly ,also part of the modern condition maybe the way  people interconnect  you can and might meet have blurred in part to tech and travel .The husband and wife translation team of Jamie Bulloch and Katharina Bielenberg need a huge mention They took the male and female parts and I think it shows and maybe adds a slight advantage to the original as I feel Emmi has a definite female voice in her E-mails that maybe has been strengthened in translation by Kaharina doing her e -mails .the title was changed but after reading the book ,still not sure german title Gute Gegen Nordwind ,a rough translation good versus north wind or good against the north wind ,although this title works better in german .a follow-up every seventh wave is out next summer can’t wait here .

Winston’s score –

Brief encounter for a digital generation ,or anne hall for the blackberry kids ,

I see a film of this book Woody Allen would do a great job for the angst versus love mix that is this book

there is a twitter stream for this book

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teresa (Lovely Treez Reads)
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 21:52:07

    This has been floating about on my radar recently and I am delighted to see that you enjoyed it so it will be going straight onto my wishlist. I am intrigued by the male/female joint translation and can see how it could work very well as long as they didn’t fall out over the words! Thanks for the review, Stu.


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  3. Caroline
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 16:15:16

    It’s a nice book, isn’t it? I read both books when they came out in German, this one and the sequel. I loved this one (and reviewed it). I also liked the second a lot. I think it is an interesting approach to use two translators.
    Don’t you think the book is perfect as it is? No need for a sequel?
    I did mention the difficulty of translating the title. I think “Good against the Northwind” doesn’t make sense as you do not have the Nordwind in England. This is a very regional wind, like the Italian Sirocco or the Californian Santa Ana Winds only very cold. I do however prefer the German cover.


    • winstonsdad
      Feb 14, 2011 @ 22:45:31

      Yes Caroline the two translators really worked for me ,we do have a wind in cumbria but agree it dosen;t work as well in english and Galtteur approved uk title ,the second title is same as germen one when it comes out next summer in english ,all the best stu


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  5. Rikki
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 08:16:30

    Oh, I’m glad I stumbled upon your review via today’s post. This sounds awesome. I love epistolary novels and the modern kind paired with romance is just right up my alley. Will buy it. Must have a look for the original title though. I assume it was published in german originally?


  6. Vishy
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 17:47:27

    Wonderful review, Stu! I read ‘Love Virtually’ sometime back and loved it! Glad to know that you liked it so much! It was also interesting to know about how your personal experience mirrored that described in a book. You would have been able to relate to the book in a deeper way. Thanks for the wonderful review!


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February 2011


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