Other Press (NY), 9781590513354, 136pp.
Publication Date: August 3, 2010
Stella begins at the end, at Stella Petersen's memorial service, where Christian relives the memories he shared with his first love. There is nothing salacious about their relationship, nor is it just a case of a teenager's crush on his teacher. Their affair changes both Christian and Stella, allows them to expand their views, and pushes them out of social and familial constraints. Theirs is a tender love story of a time, and yet speaks to any time; it is actually through death that their love is transformed.
The sparseness of Siegfried Lenz's narrative is reminiscent of the existential stringency of Ernest Hemingway. Only a master stylist ofhis standing could compose such a story that is equally modest and powerful, a work that leaves a lasting authentic impression, and that strives to comply with W.H. Auden's famous request, "Tell me the truth about love.
About the Author
Praise For Stella…
“Like W.G. Sebald at his best, Lenz solicits the reader’s grief through lexical restraint: the story’s sedate tone, combined with its nautical-rural setting, perfectly renders the texture of a daydream.”—The New Yorker
“We can thank heaven for a small – but exquisite – mercy in the shape of Siegfried Lenz’s [Stella]….a superbly crafted novella of first love, with a tenderly evocative sense of place, mood and era….Suggestively rich in overtones and undercurrents, Lenz's beautiful miniature also stands alone as a masterclass in ‘the grammar of farewell’.”—The Independent
“This book expresses, with extreme subtlety . . . the torments of first love and the pain of parting . . . [It] stands poignantly beside the tales of such lovers as Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet.” —L’Express
“We have Siegfried Lenz to thank for a poetic book—perhaps his most beautiful.” —Marchel Reich-Ranicki, Frankfurter Allgemeine