Federspiel. Drei Liebesnovellen

Federspiel. Drei Liebesnovellen; The Lure. Three Stories about Love (2012) 

This book contains three novellas, elegant variations on Hensel’s key concerns: individuals who ‘fall between the cracks’ of official history and discourse, abuses of power by those in authority, and the role of medicine and long-term care in society. 

‘Der Gnadenhof’ [The Animal Sanctuary] features a family without a patriarchal head: when Georg Ladegast is murdered by the Nazis, the ‘heteronormative’ balance of gender relations in the family is upset, and the remaining members assume gender roles deviating from the social norm. After 1945, the Ladegast family (Rita, Richard and their mother Gerlinde) settle in West Germany and gradually become completely isolated from mainstream society. Richard gives Rita a camper van for her fiftieth birthday, and so they move to the Vinschgau valley in South Tyrol, Italy, where they start an animal sanctuary, caring for an old horse called Löwenzahn (Dandelion). 

‘Immer bereit’ [Always Ready] focuses on Babette, the daughter of a prosthetic surgeon who plays with amputated dolls and finds work in the cloakroom of a government ministry. 

‘Der Deutschgeber’ [The German Teacher] depicts an authoritarian teacher at a secondary school who indoctrinates his pupils with a stifling, narrow-minded conception of German Bildung.

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Kerstin Hensel reads from ‘Federspiel. Drei Liebesnovellen’ in 2012