This volume contains 3 tales; Immensee, The Journey to the Hallig and Hans and Heinz Kirch.
Immensee, the nostalgic love story I remember fondly, is so much more, as allegorical in its way as The Great Gatsby. Storm lived in a time of political upheaval, a time when ownership of his home state of Schleswig-Holstein was disputed between Denmark and the German Republic. What happens when people sit back and let things take their course without seeking to influence them? Read Immensee to find out.
The Journey to a Hallig – In this tale Storm’s political opinions regarding Prussia and the middle-classes are vocalised quite stridently (for Storm) by an old man, who has chosen to exile himself on a hallig (an undyked island). The strength of this novelle lies in its depiction of the landscape; the dykes, the polders, the shoreline as well as the power of the sea which threatens to destroy everything without a moment’s notice.
Hans and Heinz Kirch – This is the longest novelle in this collection and it is the most powerful. There’s a tragedy in the making from the first section with the unnecessary alienation between father and son becoming all too inevitable and irredeemable with each page that passes. Gut-wrenching. I was reading this with my hands over my face – the story leaps from the page and, at times, I just couldn’t watch. Recognised as one of Storm’s masterpieces, amazingly it appears in translation for the first time.