Ingeborg Bachmann: Credit: Heinz Bachmann

Ingeborg Bachmann

Ingeborg Bachmann (1926–1973) is widely regarded as one of the greatest German-language writers of the twentieth century. Her poems, plays, stories, and only finished novel, Malina, have been championed by Paul Celan, Hannah Arendt, Günter Grass, Peter Handke, Thomas Bernhard, Christa Wolf, and Elfriede Jelinek.

Malina

Fiction by Ingeborg Bachmann

Translated by Philip Boehm

With a contribution by Rachel Kushner

In Malina, originally published in German in 1971, Ingeborg Bachmann invites the reader into a world stretched to the very limits of language. An unnamed narrator, a writer in Vienna, is torn between two men: viewed through the tilting prism of obsession, she travels further into her own madness, anxiety, and genius. Malina explores love, “deathstyles,” the roots of fascism, and passion. “Fascism is the first thing in the relationship between a man and a woman, and I attempted to say that here in this society there is always war.…
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Although Bachmann imbibed the despondent charm of her forebears, her only finished novel reaches the contemporary reader as something strange and sui generis: an existential portrait, a work of desperate obsession, a proto-feminist classic, and one of the most jagged renderings of female consciousness European literature has produced. In its torrent of language, paralyzing lassitude, and relentless constriction of expectation and escape, Malina condenses—and then detonates—the neurasthenic legacy of the interwar Austrian novel.
—Dustin Illingworth, The Nation
In the astonishing desolation and wonder that is Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina… there is no certain narrative, but there are many, deeply internalized, stories.
—Nicci Gerrard, The Guardian
A feminist classic.
The Paris Review
Bachmann’s vision is so original that the effect is like having a new letter of the alphabet.
The Guardian
In place of Wittgenstein’s language as city, Malina creates a vision of Vienna as language, one might even say as mind: to what extent it may be feminine, masculine, or otherwise is impossible to discern.
Music & Literature
An existential portrait, a work of desperate obsession, a proto-feminist classic, and one of the most jagged renderings of female consciousness European literature has produced.
The Nation
Bachmann’s moral seriousness, modernist and primeval, is nowhere in doubt, nor is her terror: it rides her language (burning and cooling, by turns) into strange dialectical valleys, up Alpine peaks, into labyrinthine Viennese apartments and sardonic lakeside villas.
4Columns
Malina will always be in style.
4Columns
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