Annemarie Schwarzenbachjournalist, novelist, antifascist, archaeologist, and travelerhas become a European cult figure for bohemian free spirits since the rediscovery of her works in the late 1980s. Lyric Novella is her story of a young mans obsession with a Berlin varit actress. Despite having his future career mapped out for him in the diplomatic service, the young man begins to question all his family values under Sibylles spell. His family, future, and social standing become irrelevant when set against his overriding compulsion to pick her up every night from the theater so they can go for a drive.
Schwarzenbachs clear, psychologically acute prose makes this novella an evocative narrative, with many intriguing parallels to her own life. In fact, she admitted after publication that her hero was in fact a young woman, not a man, leaving little doubt that Lyric Novella is a literary tale of lesbian love during socially and politically turbulent times.
Praise for the German Edition
The subject of Annemarie Schwarzenbachs story is not failed love Sibylles apparent emotional coldnessbut the failure of lovethe protagonists helpless inability, in the crucial moment, to accept his human responsibility toward the beloved. Neue Zrcher Zeitung
The work bears the face of its time, but it is so gentle, silent and veiled that one can barely exclude the person behind the mask.A mask is in fact this face, because the hero is a heroine who does not want to be seen.Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
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