Stella

Stella

4.3 3
by Siegfried Lenz
     
 

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In a small town on the Baltic coast, in a community steeped in
maritime industries and local mores, a teenager falls in love with his
English professor. Christian looks older than his years, Stella younger
than hers. The summer they spend together is filled with boat rides
to Bird Island, secret walks on the beach, and furtive glances. The
emotions that…  See more details below

Overview

In a small town on the Baltic coast, in a community steeped in
maritime industries and local mores, a teenager falls in love with his
English professor. Christian looks older than his years, Stella younger
than hers. The summer they spend together is filled with boat rides
to Bird Island, secret walks on the beach, and furtive glances. The
emotions that blossom between Christian and Stella are aflame with
passion and innocence, and with an idealistic hope of a future. The
two lovers manage to keep their mutual attraction concealed, but
as the hot months comes to an end, their meetings become more
difficult to conceal.
   Stella begins at the end, at Stella Petersen’s memorial service,
where Christian relives the memories he shared with his first love.
There is nothing salacious about their relationship, nor is it just a case
of a teenager’s crush on his teacher. Their affair changes both
Christian and Stella, allows them to expand their views, and pushes
them out of social and familial constraints. Theirs is a tender love
story of a time, and yet speaks to any time; it is actually through
death that their love is transformed.
   The sparseness of Siegfried Lenz’s narrative is reminiscent of the
existential stringency of Ernest Hemingway. Only a master stylist of
his standing could compose such a story that is equally modest and
powerful, a work that leaves a lasting authentic impression, and that
strives to comply with W.H. Auden’s famous request, “Tell me the truth about love.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Like W.G. Sebald at his best, Lenz solicits the reader’s grief through lexical restraint: the story’s sedate tone, combined with its nautical-rural setting, perfectly renders the texture of a daydream.”—The New Yorker

“We can thank heaven for a small – but exquisite – mercy in the shape of Siegfried Lenz’s [Stella]….a superbly crafted novella of first love, with a tenderly evocative sense of place, mood and era….Suggestively rich in overtones and undercurrents, Lenz's beautiful miniature also stands alone as a masterclass in ‘the grammar of farewell’.”—The Independent

“This book expresses, with extreme subtlety . . . the torments of first love and the pain of parting . . . [It] stands poignantly beside the tales of such lovers as Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet.” —L’Express
 
“We have Siegfried Lenz to thank for a poetic book—perhaps his most beautiful.” —Marchel Reich-Ranicki, Frankfurter Allgemeine 
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590513873
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
130
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

I couldn’t, I just could not take my eyes off her picture; while the school orchestra
was playing I kept gazing at the photograph. It was as if we had made a date for
this hour of remembrance in the hall, meaning to say something we didn’t yet
know about each other. I had heard our orchestra rehearsing twice, the orchestra
and the choir, and now, in front of your picture, the Bach cantata unexpectedly
took a strong hold on me—that sense of abandonment, that desperate search,
the hope for an answer, for salvation, an appeal to the victorious power of the
Father and the Son. God’s time is the very best time, in the words of the cantata.
   How your face suddenly shone, Stella, the face I’d kissed all over, on your
forehead,on your cheeks, on your mouth. Praise and glory unto the Lord, I call
upon Thy names, I am resigned, glory unto Thee. And then that Amen, taken up
like an echo by our orchestra, an echo dying away, growing quieter and quieter,
losing itself most wonderfully in a universe of consolation, the Actus Tragicus
overcome. I stared at your face, I had never before felt a loss so powerfully, which
was strange enough, because I had never before known what it was to have
possessed what was lost.

Meet the Author

Siegfried Lenz, born in Lyck in East Prussia in 1926, is one of the most important
and widely read writers in postwar and present-day literature. He has published
twelve novels, including The German Lesson, and produced several collections
of short stories, essays, and plays. His works have been published since 1951 by
Hoffmann und Campe, and he has won numerous prizes, including the Goethe Prize
and the German Booksellers’ Peace Prize.
 
Anthea Bell is a freelance translator from German and French, specializing in
fiction. She has won a number of translation awards in the UK, the USA, and Europe.

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Stella 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago