Guardian's Books of the Year: Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, choosen by Blake Morrison: "the single 117-page sentence, covering just an hour-long walk, contains multitudes."

Lancashire Evening Post's Christmas Choice: "a stunning meditation on a human being in flux."


"This is the kind of reckoning with the past that could happen only with the passing of time." Daniel Johnson, Standpoint


"The book's last paragraph, overtly expressing nothing more than the young woman's intention to write a letter, is one of the most moving conclusions I've ever read." Nick Lezard, The Guardian


"for, ultimately, it is what we know about the tragedy of World War II, and what Margherita does not, or will not ... that gives this miniature its power" Chris Waywell, Time Out


"Jamie Bulloch's excellent translation keeps the supple and rhythmic flow of Delius's language. This is a small masterpiece." Helmut Schmitz, TLS


"Portrait is a formidable achievement by a German writer too little known here. Delius understands the forces that shape Germany and has the gift to articulate joy, beauty and love." Rosie Goldsmith,The Independent

"Delius’s exploration of how indoctrination and denial work impresses with both the sympathy it creates for its bewildered protagonist and the musicality of its prose." Adrian Turpin, Financial Times

"[Delius] intricately weaves enormous themes of war, religion and love ... It is beautiful in its detail and whilst it can feel aimless it is held together tightly and expertly by its form and strength of translation." Natalie Fast, Spectator Book Blog


"Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman is a beautifully crafted work of superb psychological intensity and proof, if it was needed, of the potency of the written word." Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post


"A slim text. Huge literature.“ Observer, Vienna


“The tension and elasticity of this superb narration are impressive” Die Welt


“A big historic picture in a small space” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung