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A Minute's Silence by Siegfried Lenz
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A Minute's Silence (2008)

by Siegfried Lenz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3151954,744 (3.89)9
In a small town on the Baltic coast, in a community steeped in maritime industries and local mores, a teenager falls in love with his English teacher.

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» See also 9 mentions

English (6)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Forget Prince Albert, Stella is littered with English traces. There are whiffs of [b:The End of the Affair|29641|The End of the Affair|Graham Greene|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328010344s/29641.jpg|267229] and [b:The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie|517188|The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie |Muriel Spark|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1307465236s/517188.jpg|6132856]. I'd like to conclude that Herr Lenz made this as an homage to his friend W.G. Sebald, another German steeped in English traditions. The plot is rather linear and self-evident. A teacher of English at a coastal German school has died. One of her students grieves and recalls their relationship, one more intimate than one would guess. The paragraphs are dynamic, switching from 1st person to second or third seamlessly.

The student, Christian, lacks the wisdom to engage this chain of events. It is his innocence which gives the reader traction. Most of the narrative occurs at sea. Lenz shines in these sequences. Whereas his youthful character slips along with platitudes, the elements murmur eternally.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Mooie novelle over een onmogelijke liefde. Het thema is niet nieuw: scholier wordt verliefd op mooie lerares, en het is van bij het begin duidelijk - voor de lezer althans - dat de relatie geen toekomst heeft.
Maar het is allemaal mooi en ingehouden beschreven. Toch wel de moeite waard. ( )
  chrisgalle | Mar 5, 2015 |
Enchanting late novella from a writer who doesn't need to prove himself any more. Lenz goes back to the teenage narrators of Deutschstunde and Heimatmuseum for this rather sentimental summertime love story, very effectively. Slightly oddly, it seems to be set in the seventies, neither in the author's youth nor in the present day. Presumably we are supposed to see the author in the old teacher who pops up in the last few pages. ( )
  thorold | Dec 27, 2012 |
I did not enjoy A Minute's Silence (ger: Schweigeminute) as much as I had anticipated. The main reason seems to be that the story is more realistic, rather than romantic.

The novella describes the love of a high school student, Christian, for his English teacher, Stella. But the story is told retrospectively, in the form of flash-backs, while Christian attends the memorial service for Stella, who has died in an accident. The story is not very romantic; Stella's interest in Christian, which seems insincere, does not meet Christian's youthful adoration. She plays with him.

The coldness is further created by the interrupting effect of flash-backs and attendance of the memorial service, and the accident and subsequent hospital scene. Other distracting or detracting parts of the plot are scenes at school and multiple references to George Orwell's Animal farm, a book which is read in Stella's class. It is a bit difficult to see how this relates to the story, but with some stretching it could be suggested that it emphases the inequality between Christian and Stella: some animals are more equal than other animals.

I had the feeling there were too many characters in the book, and too many scenes. ( )
  edwinbcn | Apr 3, 2012 |
I happened upon this tiny novella at a charity used book sale and wow, what a find! I curled up with it one lazy, Sunday afternoon in front of the fire and it completely swept me away. This is an absolutely beautiful, tender, sad and wise love story in the vein of those that simply cannot really exist in the world, but do anyway, for a short period of time. That is not a spoiler, it's on the cover and on the first page. Set on the unique locale of the Baltic coast of Germany, amongst the fisherman, sea trades, boats and villagers of Hirstshafen, eighteen year old high schooler Christian (a "stone fisherman") quickly falls under the spell of his pretty English teacher, Stella. That is a simple premise, but what made this book really shine is how much not only Christian and Stella cared for each other, but the interaction among the villagers, teachers, students and parents. There is one of my favorite scenes in memory, where Christian and Stella are learning of their attraction towards each other at the yearly town dance/party (complete with a seaweed adorned Trident), but Christian's little neighbor girl, Sonja (who has a mighty crush on Christian) wants to dance and be the center of his affection. How kindly and gently they treat Sonja, and how her "little girl" dancing, romantic spirit is captured, was just so real and beautiful. So while being a love story at its core, it is also a reflection of one small sea town, its people, the nature that shapes it and an unusual affair that arises in their midst. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote CarolynSchroeder | Mar 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Siegfried Lenz hat diese Geschichte, seine "Schweigeminute", ruhig und souverän erzählt: ein Alterswerk, das trotz seines unaufgeregten Tons einen starken Sog erzeugt - selbst wenn manche Frage offenbleibt, vieles nur angedeutet wird. Vielleicht aber auch gerade deswegen.
added by ljessen | editDer Spiegel, Volker Hage (May 5, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lenz, Siegfriedprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder", sang unser Schülerchor zu Beginn der Gedenkstunde, dann ging Herr Block, unser Direktor, zum bekränzten Podium.
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