The Wall by Marlen Haushofer, translated by Shaun Whiteside

Being the last person on earth is an interesting concept at any age, but that the protagonist in The Wall is a middle aged woman who isn’t even on her own property when it happens makes the story a bit more interesting. For me, this is because I don’t often come across stories where the protagonist is a middle aged woman in the first place, let alone one where she must become accustomed to this kind of lifestyle. That part of it reminded me a little of Two Old Women, though those two women were significantly older. There’s something to be said for the reminder that we are capable of more than we set out to accomplish.

The story unfolds in a logical manner for the circumstances and I really like the protagonist. I appreciated the way she remembered having learned things that would have been useful but not the things themselves. I’ve had plenty of similar instances before, especially as my time in my career as has gone by. So many times I get a new tech who asks a question, usually theory based, and I can’t remember the answer to their question even though I know I’ve known it before. I have the good fortune of having reference material nearby most of the time, I’d hate to just have to deal without.

Honestly, I could not imagine the circumstances that our protagonist was left in. It’s not so much the idea of being the last person on earth, which though it sucks is probably manageable. It’s the idea of having to figure out how to grow any of my own food and take care of animals of any kind. I am very much a city child of my generation and have no idea how to do any of these things. It’s on my bucket list to get figured out, but I’d totally die in a short period if in this situation. The protagonist, on the other hand, handled the situation with grace and tact. I particularly loved the passage of time.

As I’ve always been a fan of dystopians anyway, and this one brings up a pretty interesting point on survivabilities, I think any woman would enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, men would probably like it too, but it doesn’t ask them the same questions. I think it would be a great book club book because there’s so much to think about in each chapter for how something could be handled and whether we are currently prepared for it. Would you survive living alone in a cabin with not much in the way of supplies and an invisible, impenetrable glass wall between you and anything that might help you?

Here is a link to the Goodreads page to add to your TBR if you want to see how our protagonist fairs.

One thought on “The Wall by Marlen Haushofer, translated by Shaun Whiteside

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  1. I absolutely loved this book, it was one of my top reads the year I read it. It was so engaging and unique in its perspective and clearly beautifully written. It certainly does pose interesting questions, a situation unplanned for and the value and importance of companionship.

    Liked by 1 person

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