Daniel Glattauer: Forever Yours (2014) – Ewig Dein (2012)

Ewig DeinForever Yours

I’ve read two of Glattauer’s books Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave and enjoyed them both. When Forever Yours – Ewig Dein came out two years ago I got it but didn’t get a chance to read it. Now that the English translation just came out, seemed to be a good time to pick it up. As you can see I added the German and the English cover. I find the German one so much better.

What a peculiar book. Not so much because of the story but because of the way it was written. The distanced and highly ironic style that Glattauer uses here made me wonder “What is this meant to be?”. I still have no clue. Is this a psychological thriller? A satirical analysis of a relationship that goes more than a little wrong? The combination of the two? A mix between parody and realistic story?

It starts simple enough. Judith, a 30-something single woman, owner of a shop that sells lamps, located in the heart of Vienna, meets Hannes while shopping. He accidentally tramples on her heel. Not exactly a great way to chat someone up but Judith accepts to meet him for a coffee. Hannes is a 42-year-old architect, specialized in designing pharmacies.

At no time does the reader get the impression that Judith fancies Hannes but he seems to be so besotted with her that she sort of slides into a relationship with him. Mostly because she’s flattered. While she’s not into him, she’s into the way he sees her. In spite of this, she soon feels suffocated and tries to end it. That proves much more difficult than she would ever have imagined.

At this point the book turns into an accurate and scary depiction of stalking. Hannes doesn’t let go. He follows her, smothers her with signs of affection, and, slowly Judith starts to lose her mind.

The book doesn’t end there and many twists and turns follow until the chilling ending.

It’s very rare that I like the beginning and the end of a book but not the middle. Many of the chapters that Glattauer calls phases are too far-fetched and far from realistic. I also found many of Judith reactions questionable. And at the same time the way Glattauer wrote about this made me question his intentions.

This isn’t Glattauer’s best book, it’s even dubious at times. It was still readable, had a lot of pertinent observations and the end was good. It’s a rather unusual psychological thriller, but for me it was rather a disappointment. I’m not sure stalking should be the topic of a parody.

22 thoughts on “Daniel Glattauer: Forever Yours (2014) – Ewig Dein (2012)

  1. Interesting book, Caroline. I loved your observation that you liked the beginning and the end of the book very much, but didn’t like the middle much. I have read Glattauer’s ‘Love Virtually’ and hope to read ‘Every Seventh Wave’ for this GLM. This one – maybe I will read the beginning and the end 🙂

    • It’s not as bad as the Schlink but I’d say – skip this one. He’s already got a new one out which is said to be very good again. I’ll probably get that sooner or later.

    • Very odd. I have a problem when I have to question an author’s intentions and that was the case here. But I can really recommend Love Virtually.
      I wasn’t so sure about the sequel. If you try Love Virtually, you’ll know why. I thought it had the perfect ending.

  2. The German cover is so much nicer and more fitting. I was a bit mortified to see that I had spelt Hannes’ name wrong all through my post. Oops!! I had great difficulty writing anything about the book because I felt very confused by the disconnect between the tone and the storyline. You managed to articulate your thoughts really well, by the way. 🙂

    • Thanks, Violet. I wasn’t sure I managed to say what I wanted to say. It was a total disconnect between tone and story. I felt the author was too present because he made fun of everyone one.
      I didn’t even noticed that you spelt it wrong. How odd is that?

  3. Great commentary as always Caroline.

    The oddities that you describe in this book actually make it sound intriguing.

    The stalking aspect may be a little troubling top read as I have of late heard about a few real life cases.

  4. There’s a lot of middle in a book, so it’s an issue when that bit’s not very good.

    Occasionally an ending is so well done it ripples back, changing the meaning of what you’ve already read so that what seemed a weak middle section becomes as part of the whole book actually necessary and worthwhile. It’s not often, but it does happen (though it requires a very skilled writer to pull off).

    This doesn’t sound like that.

    Which Schlink were you referring to? I’ve only read his The Reader, pre-blog, and I was sufficiently unimpressed I’ve not read any more by him.

    • There was no positive rippling back in this case.
      The Weekend – it’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read. I reviewed it. But I don’t think you need a more explicit warning if you didn’t even appreciate The Reader.

  5. From your description the German cover is definitely closer to the contents–the English cover makes it look like a cozy sort of read even if it is a little mysterious–certainly not menacing. Pity you didn’t like it as much as you had hoped–the premise sounds very good to me and I love the Vienna setting. Maybe if I can find a cheap used copy or a library copy to borrow…..

    • I wouldn’t call it bad but it’s odd. Maybe I didn’t get it. The combination of tone/theme/charcaters was just very strange. Maybe you’d like it anyway. It’s anything but cozy. 🙂

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