Mrs Sartoris by Elke Schmitter

mrs sartoris

Mrs Sartoris by Elke Schmitter

German fiction 

Original title – Frau sartoris 

Translator – Carol Brown Janeway 

source – personnel copy


Elke schmitter is a German writer from Krefeld ,she studied philosophy at Munich university and then became a journalist before becoming a full-time writer in 1994 . This was her début novel .I choose this book because I had visit Krefeld ,it was a chance buy in the works (a uk shop that sells unwanted stock cheap ) and may I say a gem of a find for 50p!

Without hesitation I was immediately ready to attribute all of Ernst’s annoying characteristics – including his ridiculous name – to his father .For example ,Imri was always proper and took her self seriously ,as was the expression back then , but Ernst displays of pedantry must have come from Heinz-Gunther 

Ernst wasn’t an easy husband to have for Margaret 

Mr sartoris is a first person narrative told by Margaret Sartoris ,her life is told by her from her lost love for a rich landowner called Philip that she feel in love with one summer .The break of this relationship caused her to have a mental breakdown and end up in a hospital that happened when she was 18 ,we capture her later when she is married to Ernst a veteran from the war but a man who has no real passion as she is now in her forties she finally meets another man that makes her feel the passion she had felt in her youth with Philip so she begins an affair with a man .Along side this plot there is a plot about a car crash the two finally meet at the end but you have to find the book to see what happens .

When I got to the hotel for the first time ,I could hardly breathe .It was a mild summer day ,with no wind  .I had my hair cut , and glad it wasn’t raining .I was wearing  doe brown suede pumps and a wine two piece I had brought a few days before …

Margaret waiting for her first meeting with Michael the man .

Well I don’t read many books about love and affairs ,I am not a huge fan of romantic fiction but this book is slightly darker than that it is easy to view this from my description as simple chic lit but now Magaret jumps of the page as a damage soul that is having an affair to try to finally grasp what she had once lost .The cover quote says a modern-day Madame Bovary but it is a far more German take on that story ,that sense of duty that I feel is very common in German society is deep in the story her relationship to Ernst is far from perfect but she makes in work out of duty to him  and the daughter so this affair is a real test of her as a person .But she wants the passion she is finding in the arms of the other man .I feel sorry this one is a book that has dropped of the radar and hope this review makes a couple of you root it out as it is well written with a real sense of tension as she builds Margaret’s life and her story to the climax in more ways than one .Another book that if not for Lizzy and Caroline push to make more women writers read this German lit month may have gone unread .

Have you a favourite book about affairs ?



13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Caroline
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 14:17:52

    I mentioned this in my recent post with suggestions as I thought, like you, this has not recieved the proper attention. I will probabaly review it as well later this month.


  2. Brian Joseph
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 15:04:35

    This German literature month with its emphasis on women writers is allowing is to discover new writers that we otherwise would not likely read!

    As I really like intelligently crafted character studies this one sounds more then worthwhile.


  3. Guy Savage
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 16:27:56

    Actually I just bought a copy of this after seeing it mentioned on Caroline’s blog. Sounds excellent


  4. Vishy
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 17:24:10

    Nice review, Stu! I first heard of this book through Caroline’s post and now after reading your review, I want to read it now. I haven’t read a lot of book on affairs – I can remember only ‘Effi Briest’ – but my favourite story on the topic is a short story by Arthur Schnitzler called ‘The Dead are Silent’. It is beautiful and poignant and the main characters face a conundrum which they find difficult to resolve – so much of intense action packed in only a few pages.


  5. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 00:20:42

    Your review of this one has definitely got me intrigued Stu.


  6. Tony
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 01:49:22

    Hmm. I was never a fan of the original Bovary, so I’d be unlikely to love this one. Glad you liked it though 🙂


  7. Bellezza
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 13:32:48

    Just downloaded it on my nook after seeing you and Caroline have read it. I’ll be back to have a proper chat when I read it.


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November 2013


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