My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
Five women, five chapters, five love stories. Five women attempt the impossible – to love, to be strong, and to stay true to themselves. Punchy and entirely of the moment, Love in Five Acts engaging head-on with what it means to be a woman in the twenty-first century. In the vein of Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends. Bookseller Paula has lost a child, and a husband. Where will she find her happiness? Fiercely independent Judith thinks more of horses than men, but that doesn’t stop her looking for love online. Brida is a writer with no time to write, until she faces a choice between her work and her family. Abandoned by the “perfect” man, Malika struggles for recognition from her parents. Her sister Jorinde, an actor, is pregnant for a third time, but how can she provide for her family alone?
Love in Five Acts explores what is left to five women when they have fulfilled their roles as wives, mothers, friends, lovers, sisters and daughters. As teenagers they experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall, but freedom brings with it another form of pressure: the pressure of choice.
Love in Five Acts is an interesting collection of five interconnected stories which collectively form an intense novel exploring love in all of its many guises.
Brutally honest in places, each of the women come completely alive. Paula, Judith, Brida, Malika and Jorinde, all have something important to contribute and are equally interesting with their different levels of intensity. I have to be honest though and say that I sometimes found the women not always very likable but there was definitely something about their shared intimacies which made reading their, very different, stories such a unique experience.
With its very modern feel, and written with a fine eye for nuanced detail, Love in Five Acts is smoothly translated from the original German, and is definitely one of those stories which resonates long after the last page is turned.
About the Author
DANIELA KRIEN was born in 1975 in MecklenburgVorpommern, then in the G.D.R. Her first novel, Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything, was published in English in 2013 (MacLehose Press, also translated by Jamie Bulloch) and in fourteen other languages. For a subsequent volume of short stories, Muldental, she was awarded the Nicolaus Born Prize. Love in Five Acts has been sold for translation into twenty languages. She lives in Leipzig with her two daughters. Jamie Bulloch is a German-English translator of authors such as Robert Menasse, Timur Vermes or Birgit Vanderbeke, and a winner of the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation.
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