The wall by Marlen Haushofer is a novel about a woman who makes a very strange travel, almost completely metaphorical. It is a book on the fear of loneliness, but also on the strength that comes from the loss of one’s references.
The novel, written as a diary, is a surreal story of a 40 year-old woman, married and mother of two daughters, obliged to reinvent a life by herself. While she is on a mountain holiday with her family and friends, in fact, an inexplicable event occurs: one morning she wakes up and she does not find anybody of the others. She looks for them everywhere until she bumps into a smooth and transparent wall, which separates her and the place where she is from the rest of the world. What she sees behind the wall looks like, moreover, petrified. The woman, after the first shock, finds herself at the forced beginning of a new life through the journey in the mountain places where she is trapped and in the deepness of her soul.
In the diary, she writes about her daily life which becomes tougher and tougher and more and more strenuous while her body and spirit change at the same time. In this way, she rediscovers herself through big and small daily gestures.
From the extreme fear of being alone she reaches a rediscovering of a forgotten or just never known self.
A moving love for nature, the possibility of experimenting new feelings, moments of joy that she had always underestimated and the ability of seeing and staying with the essence of things arise just from the loneliness.
Independent and strong, the woman even gets to see her past and to reach an admirable pacification not only with her present but also with herself.
The wall, from which an homonymous movie was also taken, impressed me for its atmosphere marked by almost only daily gestures through which a rebirth clearly emerges, which begins just in the pain of the loss of a life in which the protagonist had identified herself, losing sight of other parts of self. I appreciated her finding herself freer and freer from her previous world, made up of hypocrisies and fictions, which now is replaced by a simple and genuine life.
The braveness of not giving up to fear but, on the contrary, living it until the end to abandon it eventually, leads the woman to new horizons made up of feelings that our society make us forget too often.
It is the balance of living according to the rythms of nature and of one’s heart.
The attention for oneself revives thanks to the time and silence required to listen to oneself. So, the woman makes a solo travel, The Travel, the one towards her soul, because of a wall, which is a metaphor of the distance of the human relations that are too often fake and far from throwing light on the real faces of people.
This is a book that is worth reading and that covers a subject beloved by solo travellers or those who aspire to do so, the loneliness as a way to discover oneself. So, if you want to think and not only distract yourself, look for this old novel and get prepared to desire at the end being alone on a mountain to revisit your life.
Cover picture: detail of Edizione Tascabili – Edizioni e/o