'This book is AMAZING...I loved this girl because I understood her. And this is because...my own husband got sent off to Iraq.' Tolstoy is my Cat

 

"What it all adds up to is a brief, leisurely, compelling stroll through a beautiful city, a brief moment in time and a period of world history which will never be forgotten. The magic of this novella is that Delius is able to cover all aspects of his story from the micro to the macro in such a short space of time (and in such a seemingly limited style)" Tony's Reading List

 

"This is my favourite Peirene title to date. It’s the first I’ve read twice (though I’ve kept all of them as they all bear rereading) and I thought both in terms of style and content it really stood out. It’s a deceptively quiet work which is both highly particular (Nazism) but with wider resonance (how good people can help evil prosper)." Max Cairnduff,Pechorin's Journal

 

"I longed for a full stop and thoughts about how nice a chapter break would be began to occupy my mind. The endless sentence gave the book a rambling feel which stretched my tolerance to breaking point. The addition of a few full stops would have done a lot to improve an otherwise beautifully written book."Farm Lane Books Blog

 

"I admit I initially felt apprehensive — to me, having experienced several postmodern scares, it smacked of gimmick. But Delius’ novella worked. It was affective, effective, compelling." Sasha Martinez, Sasha & The Silverfish

 

"I came to feel this was the perfect format for the story. The flow and rhythm of the prose carries the reader forward effortlessly. The young woman’s circular thoughts, the ebb and flow of her reasoning, the need for her to protect her emotions despite the very real possibility that her husband may not survive…all of this fits with the style of the novella." Wendy Robards, caribousmom

 

"I went for a long walk on Hampstead Heath recently and did exactly the same thing. There was no break between the thoughts, no division between one thing and the next. Past, present and future all merged in my head, and I went from one thing to the next without a break or logical transition." Andrew Blackman

 

"Cue a standing ovation for the translator, Jamie Bulloch. Second problem – a hill, not a mountain - the Joycean associations of the title: modernist, stream-of-consciousness. Not usually my cup of tea. However, the splitting of the text into bite-size paragraphs allowed me to read without feeling pressured by a sentence of such inordinate length and there was no chance of even getting lost in it." Marcia Jarrell,Lizzy's Literary Life
 

"On a recent trip on the Eurostar from London to Paris I had the opportunity to really try out the reading experience that Peirene's titles are designed for. A single journey of just over two hours gave me a chance to read the book in a single sitting and it was a timely reminder of how much the reading of a book can be improved by the time and space to devour it uninterrupted." William Rycroft, Just William's Luck

 

"What is wonderful about it is that it is essential a stream of consciousness of her thought which gives far more insight into her world than any other form of narrative could. I am sure a large part of this is due to the excellent translation which did not feel at all clunky." Verity Orme, Cardigangirlverity

 

"The only other German book about the war I’ve read is Bernard Schlink’s ‘The Reader’ in which there is a definite need to explain, excuse, and atone. ‘Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman’ is just that – a portrait, and one with the hint of a challenge to the reader which seems like a good step further on in discussing what being on the ‘losing’ side does to a nation as well as to a person." Hayley Anderton, Desperate Reader

 

"Perhaps most remarkable about Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is that Delius never judges his character. He simply shows her as she is, her good thoughts and her bad, and lets the reader decide from there. Like Margherita, if we wish, we can close the novella and consider it a good read (which it is); or, we can use the work as a starting point for examining our own guilt, and the concept of a nation's guilt." Damian Kelleher, Literary Review and essays

 

"The writing is simply stunning. Delius paints a vivid picture and an incredibly believable woman’s narrative voice, though the book isn’t in first person the flow of it and structure of a single sentence makes it feel like subconscious and very natural train of thought. Rome is painted vividly, I have never been and yet now feel I have walked those streets in that time period. In fact I feel I have walked those streets as that woman so vivid is the picture Delius creates." Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

 

"Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is my favourite of Peirene's titles so far, and possibly the most convincing narrative voice I have read for a very long time. I certainly can't think of a man-writing-a-woman or a woman-writing-a-man which has been more believable or evocative." Simon Thomas, stuck-in-a-book
 

"It is rare for me to read a book more than once, so it must be exceptional for me to read it three times. But with Friedrich Christian Delius' novella, Portrait of a Mother as a Young Woman -- ...  that's exactly what I did. And it got better and better with each read." Kim Forrester, Reading Matters

 

"Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is a book you’ll probably want to read more than once, either for the density of the ideas in the prose or for the unusual sensation of reading it: it almost feels more like watching a live performance than the usual reading experience. If you didn’t quite catch something, you’re reluctant to go back a page, as though the narrative might carry on without you." Rob, The Fiction Desk

 

"I love this book it has a simple flow and ebb it is like being stuck on a boat drifting down a stream on a dreamy afternoon you enter the head of a young women so completely" Stuart Allen, Winstonsdad's Blog

 

"A beautiful book. It’s not just a book of the young mother’s thoughts, it’s also a history book, a book of the past, of the present and the future. Of hope and fear. And most of all, family." Sakura Gooneratne, chasingbawa

 

"So, does it live up to the slogan - most definitely! I'm tempted to liken this to Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway but I've found that likening anything to Virginia Woolf tends to put readers off rather than encourage them. Is it merely the story of one young woman or of a whole generation of people? That's for you to decide but, whichever, it's an excellent book - do read it!" Maryom, Our Book Reviews online
 

"In providing no end to each paragraph the reader starts to feel like he or she is really inside a person’s head. Isn’t that what we all think like when we are on our own? I know I don’t provide neat sentences when I think, or even when I write my thoughts down in a diary. Instead of being a heavy read, Delius’ book provides a meaningful and original glimpse of the mind of one women during the Second World War."  Iris on books

 

"This is a snapshot of a single day but Delius shows terrible storm-clouds gathering over the beauty of Rome with the approaching thunder almost drowning out the magnificent music in the church. From this description of a single day, we can tell what the end will be, and it will not be good." Tom Cunliffe, a common reader

 

"But she can in no way be called a bad person. ... What becomes increasingly clear instead is that she is instead a flawed person, just like anyone else. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is a portrait of cognitive dissonance and the inability to overcome personal barriers." Eileen Fay, This book and I could be friends
 

"This book is one very long (125 page) sentence. Does that scare you? It scared me. But it needn’t have. There are paragraph breaks, and the long run-on sentence gives it a very ‘stream of consciousness’ feel, which is exactly what the author is trying to do ... The book really shows how, if you aren’t vigilant, things can become just a part of who you are and what you think." Amy McKie, Amy Reads

 

"Delius should be congratulated on producing a rather beautiful descriptive work, and also managing to find the fine line between trying to show how an ordinary German woman could shut herself off from the awful realities of the Nazi regime, while avoiding crossing over to being an work of apology." Polly Littlewood, novelinsights

 

"Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is beautifully written, a naïve contemplation on Rome during the Third Reich on the surface, a deeper look at how people ticked at the time below that, and ultimately a testament to the power of faith, if only to distract from the anxiety of life under a dictatorship. The form is perfectly matched to the content." Katy Derbyshire, love German books

 

"It is a gorgeously conceived, wonderfully executed, and deeply moving short novel, that brought me close to tears at least once (which is not something I would ever normally admit to)." Fliss, All-Lit-Up