Last house before the mountain : a novel

by Helfer, Monika, 1947-

Format: Print Book 2023
Availability: On Order 5 copies
8 people on waitlist
On Order (5)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Allegheny Fiction ON ORDER
Location  CLP - Allegheny
Collection  Fiction
Status  ON ORDER
CLP - Beechview Fiction ON ORDER
Location  CLP - Beechview
Collection  Fiction
Status  ON ORDER
CLP - East Liberty Fiction Collection ON ORDER
Location  CLP - East Liberty
Collection  Fiction Collection
Status  ON ORDER
CLP - Main Library First Floor - World Fiction ON ORDER
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - World Fiction
Status  ON ORDER
CLP - Woods Run Fiction Collection ON ORDER
Location  CLP - Woods Run
Collection  Fiction Collection
Status  ON ORDER


For readers of Ian McEwan, Elena Ferrante, and Julie Orringer, the spellbinding, internationally bestselling, multigenerational family saga set in a fractured rural village in WWI Austria.

Maria and Josef live with their children in a valley in westernmost Austria. When the First World War breaks out and Josef is drafted into the army, Maria is left to provide for her family alone. Every day is a struggle against starvation, the harsh alpine climate and the hostile nearby villagers who see Maria as little more than a beautiful temptress out for the men left behind. But when a red-haired stranger arrives in the village, Maria feels happiness seep back into her life and she faces a choice whose consequences will affect the lives of her family for generations to come.

Based on the internationally bestselling and award-winning Austrian novelist Monika Helfer's own family history, Last House Before the Mountain is a propulsive, haunting, multi-layered saga about love, family, and the hidden wages of war.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Josef and Maria's family lives in poverty outside an Austrian village. They are known as Die Bagage, the riffraff. Josef's unlikely luck, Maria's excessive beauty, and their son Lorenz's abilities have villagers wagging fingers and nodding that "no one believed in witchcraft anymore, but you never knew." Josef is sent off to war and asks Mayor Fink to ensure that no men visit Maria in his absence. The mayor agrees, but begins to call on Maria himself, bearing gifts. When a wartime baby is born, Josef has doubts despite the mayor's assurances and the priest's failure to extract a confession. Maria's granddaughter narrates the tale, profiling family members and recounting episodes in their struggles as hungry outcasts. A visit to a Vienna art museum frames the story, when an old masterpiece by Bruegel the Elder speaks to her. It is filled with people dashing about, playing, laughing, whining, shrieking. She laughs, recognizing an uncanny resemblance to her family. Lauded author Helfer's retrospective telling, based on her own family, is translated from German by Davidson."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In Helfer's spare, subtle English-language debut, an Austrian family is transformed during WWI. Maria and Josef Moosbrugger raise their four children in the shadow of a mountain outside a village, where their neighbors deride their poverty and worry the beautiful Maria will have a corrupting effect on the local men. Shortly after Josef departs in 1914 for military service, the mayor swoops in with offers to provide the family with food--but only if Maria tolerates his caresses--and Maria meets Georg, a traveler from Germany, whose ruddy hair and expressive manner make him the antithesis of the dark, saturnine Josef. Maria resists the mayor, and the children almost starve, and though Georg visits Maria only a few times, they fall in love. When Maria becomes pregnant, the villagers blame Georg. Josef, however, had twice come home on leave before the pregnancy, and when he returns for good after the war, he refuses to look at or speak to Margarethe, the daughter he insists is not his. Helfer brings a great deal of nuance to her exploration of female desire and vulnerability, male power, and community division. This should win the author wider recognition in the U.S. Agent: Markus Hoffmann, Regal Hoffmann & Assoc. (Apr.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects World War, 1914-1918 -- Austria -- Fiction.
Austria -- 20th century -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher [S.l.] :Bloomsbury,2023
Other Titles Die Bagage.
Contributors Davidson, Gillian, translator.
Language English
Translated from the German.
Description 192 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN 1635579872
Other Classic View