“I can allow myself to write the truth; all the people for whom I have lied throughout my life are dead....” writes the heroine of Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall, a quite ordinary, unnamed middle-aged woman who awakens to find she is the last living human being. Surmising her solitude is the result of a military experiment gone awry, she begins the terrifying work of not only survival but also self-renewal.
The Wall is at once a simple and moving journal - with talk of potatoes and beans, of hoping for a calf, of counting matches, of forgetting the taste of sugar and the use of one’s name - and a disturbing meditation on 20th-century history.
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