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Effi Briest

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Theodor Fontane (1819-1898) was a German realist who worked for most of his life as a journalist, poet, editor, theater critic, and travel essayist. ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Effi Briest

Overall customer rating: 4.000
Geo1

Unique for its time

by Geo1 on Feb 28, 2008

I reached my 73rd year before hearing of this book, and discovering that it's considered to be a high point in the 19th century German novel. That got me to thinking, "What are the others?" And I realized that there are very few. While Russian, French, and English writers of that century poured out countless novels, German writers were much more involved in short fiction, poetry, and drama. That in itself--the fact that Effi Briest is something of an historical anomaly--strikes me as a compelling reason to read it. It's a novel of infidelity, sometimes compared to Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, but with an entirely different narrative strategy, as the author doesn't take the reader into his confidence until quite late in the book. Fontane makes little effort to endear his heroine to us, yet her rather pathetic fate is quite moving at the end. As a study of the pychology of marriage, the book has much to offer. Is it up to the standards of the greatest European novels of its time? Possibly not, yet it is a book well worth knowing.

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