Dying by Arthur Schnitzler

Dying by Arthur Schnitzler

Austrian fiction

Translated by Anthea Bell

source – library book

When I happened on this at the library the other week I just had to pick it up for German lit month as the book dream story by him I read for last years German lit month was on of my favourite books last year .He start of as a doctor was friends with Freud then became a writer.He was known for tackling taboo subjects and one would imagine at the time this book was written it maybe was slightly taboo  ,he wrote numerous plays ,novels and short stories this dying is one of his earliest books .he was also part of a group that meet in cafes in Vienna that were called the Viennese modernist .

Then with his head still against her breast so that his words came to her with a heavy ,hollow sound ,he said ,”Marie,Marie ,I didn’t want to tell you ,one more year and then it will be over ” now he was weeping violently and loudly

Felix telling Marie what he has near start of the book

Now dying is the story of a couple Felix and Marie it starts with them enjoying life as a romantic couple but then we start see that Felix isn’t well in fact he is dying .Now Marie is so in love with her man she vows to him that when he dies she will die at the same time  her self  out of love for him(but also as it turns out maybe duty ) .As the novel progress we see Felix getting weaker but also Marie that at the start of the story comes across as maybe a little weak and maybe under Felix’s spell become a stronger more independent women .

She had partly recovered her composure .She threw her hat down on the chair behind her ,sat down on the sofa too and said coaxingly ” darling I only went out for an hour in the open air .I was afraid I might fall ill myself and then what use would I be to you ? And I took a cab so as to get back quickly ”

Marie becomes much bolder through out the book

The heart of this story is what would you do for love how much is your life work fundamental questions that everybody ask themselves from time to time in their own lives , also power in relationships who has the upper hand  Felix over Marie in a way a the start she loves him deeply but then when she makes the promise to die she then sees her life for what it truly is and over the last year of Felix life see her change  .Another book from this time with a strong female at the centre of the story .I could see this making a great two hander play or film with two great actors at the lead it would make for wonderful drama .I enjoyed  this another small gem from Pushkin they manage to find so many wonderful novellas from round Europe.

Have you read this book ?

Do you have a favourite Austrian writer ?

November 2012


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