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...
See more details below

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$12.95 List Price


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.”
Read More Show Less

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 

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590513873
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 130
  • Sales rank: 1,397,122
  • File size: 2 MB

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.
Read More Show Less

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.
Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. What sparks Christian and Stella's attraction to one another?

2. What kind of teacher is Stella? Discuss her persona in the classroom versus when she is alone with Christian.

3. Lenz tells the story of Stella in a very distinct way—having the narrator switch between second and third person, allowing for very few breaks in the narrative, and moving fluidly between the summer and school sections. How did these stylistic choices affect your reading of the novel?

4. Is Christian a boy or a man? What signs of maturity—or immaturity—did you see in him throughout the book?

5. Why do you think Lenz chose Animal Farm as the text so prominently referred to and analyzed throughout Stella?

6. Do you think anyone truly knew about Christian and Stella's love affair? If so, who?

7. Discuss the minor characters who surround the lovers, including Sonja, the old radio operator, and Georg? What does their presence add to the novel?

8. Do you think Stella and Christian's relationship is real love, first love, or just a schoolboy crush? In your opinion, what might have happened if Christian and Stella had had a chance at a future together?

9. Discuss the various regrets that follow the characters of Stella.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)