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.