Tag Archives: Love Virtually
As you’ll no doubt be aware, this Friday is Valentine’s Day. If you’re the kind of person who frequents the MacLehose Press Blog, you’ll surely agree that the best possible present for your beloved is a book, and serendipitously you’ve wound up on a page with some bespoke romantic suggestions. Hurrah!
(Of course, some of us are loveless, bitter and alone, so it wouldn’t be fair not to include some anti-Valentines choices too…)
For the lovers
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (translated by Sian Reynolds) – If your special someone is a book lover, what better gift than this beautiful little masterpiece, narrated by a librarian who has rather a lot to get off her chest. Equally eloquent on love, literature and the Dewey Decimal System, this is one to cherish.
Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer (translated by Jamie Bulloch and Katharina Bielenberg) – One of the bestselling romances in the world since the turn of the Millennium, this digital will-they-won’t-this tells the witty and charming story of Emmi and Leo, and their e-mail romance. Especially perfect for the internet-dating Valentine – you could practically use it as a conversation starter on Tinder.
Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything by Daniela Krien (translated by Jamie Bulloch) – If you ever doubted, momentarily of course, that East Germany in the early 1990s was a romantic setting, this will prove you wrong. A coming-of-age tale of forbidden love, Daniela Krien captures the powerlessness of falling deeply in love with wonderful skill.
For the haters
Alex by Pierre Lemaitre (translated by Frank Wynne) – Pierre Lemaitre is a writer of many and varied gifts, a bestseller and an award winner, so it’s fitting that this astonishing English language debut is the perfect anti-Valentines treat for two very different reasons. Firstly, the plot twists are so wickedly clever you’ll completely forget to mope. Secondly, there’s nothing so cathartic for a lonely soul as sadistically decadent revenge . . .
Where I Left My Soul by Jérôme Ferrari (translated by Geoffrey Strachan) – Yet another Prix Goncourt-winning author, this searing novel about torture and damnation in Algeria is widely regarded as brilliant, and is possibly the perfect tonic for “your friend” who’s always going on about how tortured he feels by unrequited love . . .
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava – Just in case you aren’t feeling all that bitter, and just want to read a Folio Prize-shortlisted, PEN Pinter award-winning, critically celebrated masterpiece.
This, before we start, is the cover for the imminent paperback edition of Love Virtually, which was catapulted into the limelight when the BBC broadcast an abridged radio play last week, starring David Tennant and Emilia Fox.
It was trailed on Radio Four for a whole week before it’s afternoon slot, and has been widely reviewed in the broadsheets. Here’s the pick of the reviews – but unfortunately it is too late to listen to it again on iplayer: you’ll just have to read the book!
“Much Radio 4 hoo-ha over Love Virtually, a play written entirely in – gasp – emails and acted by Emilia Fox and David Tennant. I listened reluctantly: my entire life is lived through emails, texts and Twitter. But the play proved compelling, the flirting of the protagonists – Emmi and Leo – realistic and, at certain points, pretty hot” Miranda Sawyer in the Observer
“Thursday’s Afternoon Drama – Love Virtually (Radio 4) featured another duo, Emma (Emilia Fox) and Leo (David Tennant), conducting a strange romance – they’ve never met – through the medium of email. This was sharply written, funny and brilliantly played, so you believed in the connection between them in each of its twists and phases” Elisabeth Mahoney in the Guardian
“Adapted from a best-selling novel by Daniel Glattauer, Love Virtually (Radio 4, Thursday) promised a tale of flirtation, friendship and romance, told through a series of emails exchanged by its two protagonists. Being no great fan of epistolary tales, I approached it with trepidation.
The plot began with the online equivalent of a wrong number, as Emmi Rothner (Emilia Fox) mistakenly emailed a man called Leo Leike (David Tennant). After a few wry, ironically mannered back-and-forths (“Dear Ms Rothner, I’d like to congratulate you on having produced a brilliant message. How long did it take you to write?”), they started to open up to one another, building an online relationship that threatened to unbalance their steady offline lives. I abandoned my trepidation around the 10-minute mark, and spent the rest of the programme glued to the radio, marvelling that such an erotic drama was being broadcast during the quiet hour before the school run begins” Pete Naughton in the Telegraph
Out soon in paperback!
If you are anywhere near a radio this afternoon, then please do make sure you tune into Radio 4′s Afternoon Play at 2.15pm, which is adapted from the novel, Love Virtually, by Austrian writer Daniel Glattauer.
As the fab a-littlebird.com say, Daniel’s amazing novel was a “huge hit in Europe (the book sold 2 million copies in Germany alone), it is about a couple who conduct a love affair entirely by email.”
David Tennant and Emilia Fox star in the adaptation… cannot wait!
LOVE VIRTUALLY BBC RADIO PLAY STARS DAVID TENNANT
Those likely to be most moved by the news (his legions of fans) will already know, but David Tennant will be starring alongside Emilia Fox in a BBC Four Radio Play of Love Virtually. The play, based on Daniel Glattauer’s internationally bestselling e-epistolary novel will be broadcast on the 8th of March at 2.15 post meridian.
It has been adapted for radio by Eileen Horne and produced by Clive Brill for Pacificus Productions. A previewer in yesterday’s Radio Times commented that “David Tennant’s Scottish vowels give spiky academic Leo an appropriately laconic air”.
MACLEHOSE AUTHOR FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENT?
Irina Prokhorova is the editor of the Russian magazine New Literary Review, and next year we will publish a documentary history of Russia since 1990 that she has edited. But she is also the brother of businessman and presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov and recently took part in a televised presidential debate.
After Putin announced that he would be sending proxies to presidential debates, Mikhail Prokhorov responded by announcing that he would follow suit: his proxy for the debate with Putin’s proxy — the renowned filmaker Nikita Mikhalkov — was his sister, Irina.
The debate took place last Monday, and Irina has been catapulted to fame as a result. The consensus was that she roundly defeated her opponent — wiped the floor with him even. And now Irina herself is being whispered of as a potential president.
Arch Tait, who is translating 1990, has helpfully translated some comments on the debate from a Russian website:
Andrey Piontkovsky (“Another Look Into Putin’s Soul”) writes
I have lost my heart to Irina Prokhorova: an intelligent, charming, lively woman with magnificent reactions. She just wipes the floor with this tub-thumper who very soon starts brandishing his state-approved Russian Orthodoxy about and reproaching Prokhorov for not having found the road to God and so on, poking about in his personal life. I think the Prokhorov family has made a big mistake. They should have put Irina up for President, not Mikhail.
Andrey Illarionov says
People who periodically lament, ”But where are we to find these new, deserving, competent, professional people?” evidently fail to understand just how effectively the fetid atmosphere of our authoritarian political regime stifles them. We have no shortage of them. All it took was one slight stirring of the political marsh for Russia instantly to learn the name of one such person – Irina Prokhorova.
There’s a video of the debate on Youtube, but naturally it’s in Russian:
Daniel Glattauer’s Love Virtually was released yesterday by SilverOak, Quercus’ joint publishing venture with Sterling.
It received rave reviews in the U.K., both in newspapers and also on readers’ blogs including Vulpes Libris, Vishy’s Blog, and Book Monkey, and it looks like there will be more of the same from U.S. bloggers. Anita of the *I Loves to Read* blog writes:
In the world of social networking, a book such as this one is perfect, because it is reality. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard of people meeting up with an old flame via Facebook, or Myspace or a chatroom or whatever. Just today, in fact, I heard a story about a marriage that was broken due to a “friend” on Facebook. Let’s face it, the trap of finding intimacy within the virtual walls of the computer, is real.
So the book – yes, that is my focus, the book. Love Virtually was great! It was funny, and crazy and to be quite honest, it sucks you in within the first 5 e-mails. Yes, the book is filled cover to cover with nothing but e-mails. In the past I have read books like this; completely filled with e-mails and other impersonal type contact, thinking “wow, what a cleaver idea,” only to be left with a bit of an emptiness,
because of the lack of character, the lack of description, the lack of a true story. I honestly believe that Daniel Glattauer has wiped these other books completely off the table and replaced them with what they should have been. Read more.
For more reviews and ratings, in host of different languages, check out the book’s GoodReads.com page.
The Folded Earth was Book of the Week on the For Book’s Sake website:
“In the first few pages of the book, Maya exclaims that her husband’s need to visit the mountains made her see that ‘some people have the mountains in them while some have the sea’. It is this turn of phrase that is so utterly enrapturing and which really allows Roy to create a beautifully plaintive story filled with incredibly touching moments . . . The Folded Earth grapples with grandiose themes almost effortlessly. Roy’s writing remains gently poignant and metaphoric throughout, every vignette and scenario she constructs feels multi-layered and deeply meaningful.” Sara Badawi
And in India, The Folded Earth has also been reviewed in the weekly political magazine, Tehelka: “Its pages are crowded with the small intense pleasures of a long trek, to be recalled years later with unbearable yearning by a veined stone, a fossil, a dry leaf. The pain of that intimacy acknowledges the imponderable: we rush to embrace the wilderness and dread the terror of being embraced by it. The Folded Earth embodies this paradox: it is a joyous novel about grief.
Roy is the rare author who can write descriptive prose that does not read like an inventory. The strength of this novel is its evocative language and use of closely observed descriptions of the external world to cue shifts in emotion. The narrator (with whom one empathises instantly) relates her own story through lines like these: ‘In the hills, the sky is circumscribed. Its fluid blue is cupped in the palm of a hand whose fingers are the mountains around us… Here is where sky begins and ends, and if there are other places, they have skies different from our sky.’
Circumscribed too is life in the small town where Roy’s compassionate understanding makes her characters come alive.” Kalpish Ratna
India Today, one of the two major political weeklies, also reviews The Folded Earth: “Comic and shrewd and nasty in leaps and spirals. The Folded Earth negotiates passion and pain, hate and hauteur with a deftness of narrative skill that is distinctly acrobatic. It is never melodramatic, however. Roy’s aim, clearly, is not for the jugular, even if she is traversing tiger-country and has Corbett as her colonial pin-up man… If you look… for the perfect turn-of-word-and-phrase, for that unexpected adjective that will jerk you up short in your reading trek, and for that splendidly unbelievable image that can wrench your gut when you least expect it, you can savour Roy’s second.” Brinda Bose
Love Virtually has been reviewed in Woman’s Way magazine in Ireland: “It’s An Affair To Remember for the internet age. It’s good stuff. Just go with the virtual-voyeuristic flow and enjoy 21st century, out-there romance.”
And the Irish Examiner has reviewed Treblinka:
“It is a commonplace of distressed people to say that words can’t describe their agony. Well in this account of his survival in World War II of the killing camp that was Treblinka, Chil Rajchman uses words, and not lots and lots of them, just 96 pages, and opens a window into the individual and collective agony of up to 1.3 million people exterminated as if they were locusts.
His phrases don’t involve complicated concepts nor do his words elicit elaborate philosophies. He just described what happened to him and to his neighbours and strangers who often spoke different languages to him, but who were homogenised by a killing machine into one mass of Jewness. This was death on a calamitous scale. Engineered death. Rajchman somehow managed to survive to tell the story.
Rajchman did everything in his power to stay alive. The SS looked for volunteer barbers. He had never cut a hair in his life. He became a barber. He describes beautiful young women whose hair he had to shave off before they were sent to the gas chamber. The SS looked for dentists. He volunteered. They had to extract gold teeth from corpses. They filled buckets with them, often with bits of flesh attached.
In the second part of Treblinka there is a lengthy piece of reportage by Vasily Grossman — The Hell of Treblinka. In it he exhorts humanity to bear witness to these events — still frighteningly close to our own lives. Not distant genocide a la Genghis Khan shrouded in the mists of time: ‘It is the writer’s duty to tell the terrible truth, and it is a reader’s civic duty to learn this truth. To turn away, to close one’s eyes and walk past is to insult the memory of those who have perished. to learn it.’
We have many accounts of concentration camp survival, some from literary giants (Primo Levi’s If This is a Man); Romanian poet Paul Celan distorted his syntax as a metaphor for the inconceivable. The poet Sylvia Plath, regarded even the German language as a ‘barbed-wire language’. Ultimately, language must attempt to describe such events, however horrific. Reading too, must play a part.
A postcard from hell. Treblinka was a harangue of logic. Morality eviscerated.” Dan MacCarthy
As we are already tweeting the first chapter from @LoveVirtually, we have asked the translators to select a favourite passage from the text. This extract is taken from Chapter Three.
Subject: A bad day
Did you have a good day today? Mine was awful. Good evening, goodnight.
(By the way, when you think of Emmi now, which Emmi comes to mind? I hope you are still thinking of Emmi!)
Three and a half hours later
When I think of Emmi, I don’t think of any of the three Emmis described by my sister, but of the fourth one, my one. And yes, of course I’m still thinking about Emmi. Whydidn’t you have a good day? What was so awful about it? Goodnight, good morning.
The following day
Subject: A good day!
Good morning. So you see, dear Leo, this is how a good day begins for me! I open my inbox and find a message from Leo Leike. Yesterday: bad day. No e-mail from Leo. Not one. Not a single one. Not even a hint of one. What promise does a day like that hold? Leo, I need to tell you something: I think we should stop. I’m beginning to get addicted to you. I can’t spend my entire day waiting for e-mails from a man who turns his back on me when he meets me, who doesn’t want to get to know me, who only wants me to e-mail him, who uses my words to construct a woman of his own making, because the presence of real women probably pushes him way beyond his comfort level. I can’t go on like this. It’s unrewarding. Do you understand me, Leo?
Two hours later
O.K., I understand you. But I’ve got four questions, which I shall set out strictly in accordance with the Rothner formula:
1) Do you want to get to know me in person?
3) Where will it lead?
4) Should your husband know about it?
Half an hour later
Re: 1) Do I want to get to know you in person? Of course I do. Personally is preferable to impersonally, don’t you think?
Re: 2) Why? I’ll only know the answer to that when we’ve got to know each other.
Re: 3) Where will it lead? It will lead to wherever it leads. And if it didn’t lead there, then it shouldn’t. So it will only lead to where it should lead.
Re: 4) Should my husband know about it? I’ll only know the answer to that when I know where it’s leading.
Five minutes later
So would you cheat on your husband?
One minute later
That’s not what I said.
Forty seconds later
I’m inferring it.
Thirty-five seconds later
Be careful that you don’t infer too much.
Two minutes later
What is it your husband can’t give you?
Fifteen seconds later
Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. What gives you the impression there’s something he can’t give me?
Fifty seconds later
I’m inferring it.
Thirty seconds later
From what are you inferring it? (You’re beginning to get on my nerves with your language psychologist’s inference.)
Ten minutes later
I’m inferring it from the way you lead me to understand that you want something from me. You won’t be able to say what it is until we’ve met. But there’s no doubt that you do want something from me. Or put another way: you’re looking for something. Let’s call it adventure. Those who go looking for adventure never find it. Am I right?
An hour and a half later
You’re right, I am looking for something. I desperately need a priest to explain to me the definition of cheating on your husband. Or at least what a priest might imagine it to be, a priest who has never cheated, not only because he doesn’t have a woman to cheat with, but also because he doesn’t have a wife to cheat on, except for the Virgin Mary herself. This isn’t The Thorn Birds, Leo! I’m not looking for “adventure” with you. I want to see who you are, that’s all. Just once I want to look my e-mail buddy in the eye. If that’s what you call “cheating”, then I admit that I might well be a cheat.
Twenty minutes later
But just to be sure, you wouldn’t tell your husband anything.
Fifteen minutes later
Leo, I don’t like it when you come over all priggish! You’re welcome to go on like that when it concerns your own affairs, but not when it comes to mine. Being happily married doesn’t mean that you have to deliver a daily report of all the people you meet. If I did that, I’d bore Bernhard to tears.
Two minutes later
So you’d say nothing to your Bernhard about our meeting because you’re afraid it would bore him to tears?
Three minutes later
Oh, the way you write “your Bernhard”, Leo! I can’t help it that my husband has a name. But that doesn’t mean that he belongs to me, or that he’s glued to my side 24/7 with me endlessly cooing “My Bernhard!” and my hands all over him. I don’t think you have the faintest idea about marriage, Leo.
Five minutes later
I’ve not said a word about marriage, Emmi. And you still haven’t answered my last question. But how did you put it recently? An evasive answer is an answer nonetheless.
Ten minutes later
Let’s draw a line under this. You’re the one who owes me an answer to my crucial question, which I’m happy to repeat for you: Do you want to meet me? If the answer’s yes, then let’s do it! If the answer’s no, then please tell me what all this is about, how should it carry on? Or rather, should it carry on at all?
Twenty minutes later
Why can’t we just carry on writing to each other?
Two minutes later
I don’t get it: he just doesn’t want to get to know me! You’re such a fuddy-duddy, Leo. Maybe I’m the blonde with the large breasts!!!
Thirty seconds later
Twenty seconds later
You could ogle them.
Thirty-five seconds later
And you’d like that, would you?
Twenty-five seconds later
Not me, you! All men like it, especially the ones who don’t admit it.
Fifty seconds later
I much prefer these sorts of conversations.
Thirty seconds later
Aha! So you’re a repressed sex-chat addict after all.
Three minutes later
That was a good one to end on, Emmi. Sorry, I’ve got to go out now. I hope you have a nice evening.
Four minutes later
Twenty-eight e-mails between us today, Leo. And where have they got us? Nowhere. What’s your mantra? – detachment. What’s your parting shot? – you hope that I “have a nice evening”. That’s in “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Emmi Rothner” territory. To
sum up, after a hundred e-mails and a professionally executed meeting-without-actually-meeting, we’re not a millimetre closer. The only thing sustaining our “inner nonacquaintance” is the staggering effort we devote to it. Leo. Leo. Leo. What a shame, what a terrible shame.
One minute later
If a day goes by when I don’t e-mail you, you complain. And if I send you fourteen e-mails in five hours, you still complain. I don’t seem to be able to do right by you at the moment, Emmi.
Twenty seconds later
Not by e-mail at any rate!!! I hope you have a nice evening, Mr Leike.
All around Europe – and beyond – from Sao Paulo to Shanghai to Amsterdam to Jakarta, men and women of common and serious intent are burning midnight oil and working all hours sent to bring Love Virtually to the wider world, to render in clear and current vernacular the bestselling novels of Herr Glattauer. With the rights sold to thirty-five countries, it has to be one the of most comprehensively translated books since the Larsson trilogy.
At MacLehose Press we’re doing things slightly differently (as far as we know!). The translation of Love Virtually, and its sequel, Every Seventh Wave, has been a joint effort undertaken by two translators who just happen to husband and wife. Jamie Bulloch and Katharina Bielenberg have just finished translating Every Seventh Wave, so have managed to find a few minutes to speak with Vivienne Nilan. Additional questions from Paul Engles.
Vivienne Nilan: Are there any particular issues when translating from German to English, especially in e-mail-speak?
Jamie Bulloch: The letters in Love Virtually are written quite conventionally, they don’t use contractions or smileys or take shortcuts. It’s very much about language and the possibilities of word-play, about taking an idea, a written image and extending it, teasing out meaning or inference. It was more complex than either of us had expected for something which is ostensibly very conversational, but it was also huge fun.
Katharina Bielenberg: The character Emmi is even more fond of elaborate compounds than the average German, so that was a bit of a challenge. Sometimes they worked in a straight translation, but too many would have sounded absurd in English so sometimes I chose instead to find another way instead of using a string of hyphens.
Vivienne Nilan: Were you always able to find alternatives or did you have to sacrifice parts of the text?
Jamie Bulloch: Where a joke or a pun couldn’t possibly work in English, we tried to find another as a substitution. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. Sometimes it would take days until we hit upon it, we’d just have to let it sit for a while.
Vivienne Nilan: What are the the advantages /pitfalls of translating as a team?
Katharina Bielenberg: Initially we had this idea that we would approach the translation like a game of chess, an open Word doc with each of us responding to the email that had gone before. But of course this would have taken three times as long to produce a text – it would have been like translating in real time. Then we considered working on our texts separately, but Emmi and Leo are constantly referring to what each other has just said, so we would have had to backtrack quite a bit to get it right. In the end one of us would do a chapter and email it to the other to fill in the gaps, but there was still the need for a lot of cross-referencing.
Jamie Bulloch: One of us could pop downstairs and make lunch, happy in the knowledge that work was still proceeding!
Vivienne Nilan: Who makes the final decision when/if there’s a difference of opinion
Katharina Bielenberg: When we’d finished our draft we sat down and worked through the whole text for the first time together, quite a rigorous process during which we were able to be completely critical and objective about each other’s efforts. We’d bandy ideas about, but we’d know immediately when one or other of us had hit on the solution. Very satisfying.
Jamie Bulloch: I suppose we know each other pretty well by now, which helps; we didn’t feel we had to be polite or tread delicately around each other’s translation.
Vivienne Nilan: What attracted you to this book?
Katharina Bielenberg: It’s beautifully structured and totally compelling, with each chapter leaving you on a cliffhanger. I would defy anybody not to want to read more on. Daniel is brilliant on the complexities and psychology of love, but he has such a light touch, and there are aspects of the book that everyone can relate to, which gives it a kind of universal appeal. Parts of it are quite frivolous, others deeply serious. It’s very funny, clever, can be frustrating but then the frustration falls away as you round the next corner. It’s quite a rollercoaster.
Jamie Bulloch: I love the fact that it can be devoured in a single sitting. The ending makes you gasp, but then there’s the sequel to look forward to [Every Seventh Wave is published in July this year].
Paul Engles: Where did the idea of translating the book together come from? Do you know if the other publishers of the book in the any of the thirty-five countries are repeating the trick (not necessarily husband and wife)?
Katharina Bielenberg: Christopher (MacLehose) and Jamie had come up with the idea separately, but simultaneously, just after we acquired Love Virtually and its sequel. Unlike Jamie, I’m not by any means a full-time translator, but this seemed an opportunity not to be missed. I’m not aware of others having done the same, but several of the other editions were underway before we got started.
Jamie Bulloch: I thought it might be quite a fun experiment. We work broadly in the same field, but it’s not often that our work coincides, let alone overlaps. Our children thought it hilarious and they’ll enjoy reading the books when they’re a bit older. We know that the first foreign editions to be published used only the one translator – unless you ARE married to the person you’re working with it could be a logistical nightmare. This way we managed to fit it around other work, so much of it was done after hours with a bottle of wine.
Paul Engles: Can you think of any other translated books that have used the dual approach or would have benefited from it?
Jamie Bulloch: I’d love to know how Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge shared their work on the Asterix books, amongst the finest translations in the English language! It can be such a laborious process, much more difficult I would have thought when the roles are less clearly defined.
Paul Engles: In Love Virtually the path of true love does not run smooth: there’s a lot of squabbling and fighting. Did translating their travails make you bicker as much as they do?
Jamie Bulloch: You’d better put that question to my wife…
Katharina Bielenberg: No more and no less. I think we have an easier time of it , and I’m quite relieved having spent some time in theirs that our relationship is less complicated than Emmi and Leo’s. I’d like to think Emmi is a little more temperamental than I am, Jamie may disagree.
Paul Engles: Having spent so long immersed in Love Virtually, would you now be worried if one or the other suddenly started spending a suspicious amount of time on the internet?
Katharina Bielenberg: If there were enough hours in the day… No, I spend far too much time at my screen already. Funnily enough two friends who read early proofs of Love Virtually confessed to a intense and secret e-mail correspondence at one time. I think it’s much more common than we would think, which is why this book will strike such a chord. You can be whoever you want to be…
Paul Engles: Katharina – did you fall at all for Leo? Jamie – for Emmi?
Katharina Bielenberg: Like Emmi, I thought he was most amusing when he was drunk. He doesn’t have an easy time with Emmi, why is she/am I putting him through this?…
Jamie Bulloch: Emmi’s not my type! (I’d have to say that, wouldn’t I?)
Love Virtually continues to have an amazing effect on all who read it:
I have fallen in love. I tried to hold it back, telling myself: ok, that’s fine, but would the others care about it? What does it matter? But I knew that sooner or later this love would have found the right key to access the pages of the blog, as it happens with all the important things in my life.
Jul’s Kitchen is, in fact, a blog that is a mirror, a personal diary, a castle in the sky crowded with dreams, hopes and illusions. So, this love was supposed to reach this place, to gain in truth from being put on paper, being transformed into words.
Yes, words. This love began from his own words. Calm, ironic, never predictable or expectable words. Then the fits of freedom, of passion, words running riot with no punctuation, his name repeated a hundred thousand times, just for the thrill of seeing it pronounced, of hearing it written down. Who is he? Or better,who are the interlocutors of this modern epistolary dialogue? The protagonists are Emmi and Leo, the main characters of the novel Love Virtually written by Daniel Glattauer.
Yes, I’m in love with a book, with a story, with love. I’ve fallen in love with words. It happened often, the words have much more hold on me then ultramarine blue eyes, swimmer’s body or advertising sparkling smile…
As Leo says:
Write to me, Emmi. Writing is like kissing, but without lips. Writing is kissing with the mind.
Wow! What an amazing review. As we said yesterday, the blogosphere is really falling in love with Love Virtually, but I think this review (from Jul’s Kitchen) is my favourite yet.
Two million copies sold in Germany alone. Bought by thirty-five publishers around the world, and adapted into a successful touring stage play. Love Virtually and its sequel Every Seventh Wave, by Austrian novelist Daniel Glattauer, are well on the way to becoming the next global publishing phenomenon.
Love Virtually is a thoroughly modern epistolary novel with a difference: its protagonists – Emmi Rothner and Leo Leike – communicate exclusively by e-mail. In fact, they only “meet” when Emmi mistakenly sends an e-mail to Leo’s inbox. A romance ensues that allows them to live out a shared secret life far removed from their day-to-day existences. But to what extent does it rely on fantasy and escapism, and will it survive a real-life meeting?
There have been precedents, of course. 1998′s You’ve Got Mail, written, and directed by Nora Ephron, in which Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks play two business rivals who unwittingly become online lovers. In 2005, a year before the German publication of Glattauer’s bestseller, Lucy Kellaway published Who Moved My Blackberry?, a satirical novel that charts a businessman’s rapid rise and fall through e-mails to and from his life-coach, his wife, his children, and his colleagues.
Perhaps Love Virtually‘s success lies in that fact that it is an e-mail novel that eclipses the form – within fifty or a hundred pages the structure seems to fall away and you are left with a simple love story that is as affecting and utterly compelling as any you’d care to compare it to. Like David Nicholls’ One Day or Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, it is a quirky romance that delivers and delights on every level.
From now until publication (February 3), we will be tweeting the text of Love Virtually – a few e-mails each day – from @LoveVirtually, just as an experiment to see how far we get. Will it be five pages? Will be ten? However many it is, we can guarantee you’ll be hooked by then.
We’ll be posting about Love Virtually on the blog all week.