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I think this book is a very easy read, so maybe the translation makes it heavier that it is but I agree, you cann overread things easily as it's a book of allusions and not very explicit and certainly not when it comes to the affair. Crampas tries to kiss Effi in the carriage in the forest at night and it's likely something happend there but we are not told. Later when she goes for her walks and the maid never finds her, altough she should, well that's obvioulsy when things happen.
I don't dislike Crampas as much as others did. I dislike Instetten.
The Christmas scenes bother me a bit because I don't understand why they did not spend them in Hohen-Cremmen?


It's funny -- when I read I rarely if ever wonder about whether or not an author likes a character ... maybe it's because I tend to read a lot of journals and letters written by writers and I don't see much about like or dislike. In many cases, it is almost as if the character just came to them and they are working -- struggling in many cases -- to get the person in their head down on the page. When I do ask the like/dislike question, it tends to be about characters that I know are based on a personal friend, relative, or acquaintance of the author.

I have read almost no German fiction and am enjoying reading your thoughts on this book.


Caroline--I suspect I am making this harder than it should be since I know it is a classic and therefore has more to the story than most of my fluffier reading choices. The writing seems very formal to me in this translation which makes it a slower read and I think I don't always read as closely as I should and then find I have missed details. I did read more of the intro and it sounds like Fontane didn't ever explicitly show the affair and it comes out more when Instetten reads the letters from Crampas--but still I will go back and find those sections and read them again. It is strange that Effi and Instetten didn't go with family for the holiday--she obviously far prefers Hohen-Cremmen to any other place. I think Instetten is just too self absorbed--he cares more for his career and appearances it seems.
AJ--I think I wonder more when a character comes to a bad end, what an author thinks of his/her creation. And sometimes I wonder if I try too hard to read things into the text and motivations of an author when maybe there were no specific intentions at all! :) It is really interesting to read about an author's writing process, however, I don't do that often enough at all. I have read very little German literature either--I think this is maybe my first classic, so I am very much enjoying trying something different and hope to read more German language classics as well.

Buried In Print

I had a reading experience like you've described with Doris Lessing's Golden Notebook; I ended up really loving it in the end, albeit in a distanced-kind-of way, but it felt like a chore all the way through...ALL the way through! Hehe.


Heh, I read this for university and remember having to go back and look for the seduction scene. It's not you! It's so lightly done as to be imperceptible to the naked eye.... I realise, reading the readalong posts, how much I have forgotten of Effi Briest. I'm committed to too many books this month to pick it up,but I'd like to read it again.


Buried in Print--And The Golden Notebook is a Long book, too! Effi is less than 220 pages. I'll finish by the end of the week. It's one that I am appreciating and admiring and enjoying in its own way, but I think I don't quite love it in the same way as North and South, which is the last classic I read. I do want to read Doris Lessing by the way, but will probably start with something different then The Golden Notebook.
Litlove--I wasn't expecting anything racy, but I was expecting something a little more obvious. Now that I know where the passages are in the text I will go back and reread them. Glad I was not the only one to have to go back and look! :) It's sad how books/details fade from mind, though I am hoping that by reading so many other posts about it and answering questions that I'll remember it better than other books!


I like a subtle book but one does really need to be in the right frame of mind for it. It sounds like you are managing pretty well though.


Stefanie--I'm enjoying it--just trying not too read to much into it. I think I sometimes make books harder than they need to be. I do think this is a perfect example of a book that is well worth rereading, though!

I just finished this superb novel. Looking forward to your Part 3. - Fay

Rebecca H.

I've enjoyed your posts on this book because I'm hoping to read it at some point. I'm very curious what I will make of it!


Fay/Readramble--I have just a few more pages to go as well and am enjoying it much more now that I am not worrying so much that I am missing details. I have catching up to do as I have not yet read many other Q&As--I hope you'll be writing about it, too!
Rebecca--After struggling a bit with it, the last part went much smoother. It's well done and an interesting comparison to Tolstoy and Flaubert. I'm glad I finally managed to read it!


Ah, I disagree about Crampas - he deserves a good kicking in my view.

But will he get it? ;)


Tony--Strangely I feel less annoyed by him than other "seducers"--maybe because their affair is so short? As for a good kicking...I'm thinking he does indeed get a good one. ;)

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