SUCH SAD TIDINGS by Elisabeth Plessen


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Augusta, a German journalist, is driving in haste along the Autobahn to get home to Einhaus, the family estate, in time for her father's funeral. And on the way she is flooded with the memories of a not-so-dutiful daughter. She remembers her father, ""C.A.""--a nobleman who was in the war; appalled after it, he wrote a diary/novel filled with honest anguish but also filled with barbarous clich‚, a confession that nonetheless refused to acknowledge the essential evil he'd taken part in. And Augusta remembers her life in Berlin among fellow revolutionaries, a life that both horrified and fascinated C.A.; as hard as he tried, he could never understand. What makes Plessen's fragmented narrative hold up is just this sense of thwarted reaching-out between father and daughter--limitations and confusions. Whole sections of the novel sink into the murk of splintered consciousness. But much of Augusta's recollection--especially the character of C.A.--comes across with a realness that gives the book, at its best, a raw autobiographical flavor.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1979
Publisher: Viking