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This short story is set in a mountain village high in the Alps Poetic descriptions of the breathtaking beauty and extreme harshness of the area The story is uiet and reads like a fairy tale or folk tale It is a simple story and one best read without nowing much about it This is the sort of story you expect to read is based on real events but if it is it doesn t sayWhy introductions are included that give away the whole plot and ending I don t now Due to the reissue s cover image and the general taste of the selection of friends who had read this I got the mistaken expectation that this 1postmodern and 2actually about rock crystal in at least a metaphorical way Both of those are not the caseThis book is not like thisIt is like this things beyond anything imagined things they dare not touch but which after they have received them as gifts they will carry aboutThis a nice subtle religious metaphor Stifter s prose is uite admirable although the story itself is nothing out of the way I ll see what else he wroteScharl s illustrations are also worth the look psI took a photo of the author even though I hadn t read him yet at the time A dear friend gave me Rock Crystal as a Christmas gift this year and I can highly recommend it as a great Christmas read Originally published in 1845 it has the sort of timeless feel of a Dickensian classic albeit without all the characters and deserves to be better nown why it isn t truly puzzles me Perhaps it is because of the author s unfortunate lack of success and premature demise but that aside this little novella is a delight and is going to be stored among my other Christmas treasures to be read annuallyA seemingly simple tale of two children Conrad and his little sister Sanna who are on a visit to their maternal grandmother in a village across the mountain range from their own home Of course all stories are photographs of a moment in time where much has happened before in the history of one family divided by a mountain range for example not to mention two villages When returning home after dark during a heavy snowfall the children become lost and discover themselves out on a glacier and unable to get down As is often the case the children teach the adults the value of Life and Love uiet deep and descriptive Rock Crystal will not appeal to everyone especially not those who expect constant thrills but for those very ualities I was enchanted to savor the experienceA lovely book perfect for a family read aloud Highly recommended Many thanks to my benefactor Who am I The Lion King kidding I m not going to finish this thing I ll get enjoyment by just staring at the cover lovingly stroking it with the tippy tip tops of my fingers and saying aloud Pretty in the voice of an idiot manchild This isn t the case of a book deserving a good cover this is the case of a cover deserving a good book and this just ain t itI should have taken the author s name as sufficient warning I mean what the hell does an Adalbert Stifter have to tell me He sounds like theind of man who should do surveying for topographical maps or who Should Teach Philology In Vienna While Scowling teach philology in Vienna while scowling his students who watch his old worldy muttonchops minute by minute day by day fortnight by fortnight devour his anemic skull like face That s my impression of an Adalbert Stifter anywayShould I admit to you that this book is only seventy five pages long And that the typeface is relative large And that the line spacing is generous And yet I still couldn t bring myself to finish itI had the best of intentions I would think to myself Okay Now I am really really really going to sit down to read Rock Crystal Yes I am very pysched about reading a bunch Of Scrupulous Descriptions Of The Trees The Valleys The Mountains scrupulous descriptions of the trees the valleys the mountains shrubs the streams the leaves and the socioeconomic milieu of two Alpine valley communities circa the first half of the 1800s Won t that be fun I m sooooo going to park my eister and enjoy the living shit out of this allegedly serene moving yuletide story of two Hanselesue and Gretelish siblings who get lost in the woods on the way home from visiting their Grams and Gramps Yes I am I really am I completely am In two minutes I m gonna go get that book and read the fuck out of it I can t wait It s gonna be like a totally transcendent experience Or something I am having so much fun thinking about all the fun I m going to have reading about the father s shoemaking business and why the townspeople prefer his shoes to anyone else s Even Aldo s Yes Any minute now I am going find myself so tempted by this beguiling charming tale of two lost imps that I ll desperately crave a hasty return to those Bohemian villiages In fact I ll never want the story to end Ever I mean look at the cover It s so icy and pretty It s reminds me of Marlon Brando s crystalline tract home on Krypton in the first Superman movie Or an Apple store Something clean crisp cool refreshing Like a glass of Perrier with a so thin you can read through it slice of cucumber in it That s what this book is like And that s why I can t wait to get back to it I don t even care if I have those two new DVDs waiting to be watched They re probably not good anyway right They re surely not about a pair of Lederhosen wearing scamps yodeling their way through the Alps on a heartwarming Christmastime trek What could be better really Books like this lift me up to a higher plateau of consciousness The penthouse of consciou. Seemingly the simplest of stories a passing anecdote of village life Rock Crystal opens up into a tale of almost unendurable suspense This jewel like novella by the writer that Thomas Mann praised as one of the most extraordinary the most enigmatic the most secretly daring and the most strangely gripping narrators in world literature is among the most unusual moving and memorable of Christmas stories Two children Conrad. ,

Sness you might say Ten minutes and then holy shit am I ever going to read the fucking fuckety fuck out of that book I am very very very very excited Whoohoo I wonder if The Biggest Loser is onSo SPOILER AHEAD the ids get lost but unfortunately they don t die I read the introduction That s how I 1 know Death would have really added something to this novel I think Violent death Even better This thing was just way too prim starchy and antiseptic I imagined the author wearing a pince nez and long gloves and using a cigarette holder while he wrote it It s almost as if a dewy eyed Hegel in secret tried his hand at novel writing and the manuscript were found long after his death by I don tnow Susan Sontag or someone who wrote their jacket blurb before they had even bothered to read the damn thing In this very unusual story two children travel a familiar route from their home in an alpine valley to visit their maternal grandparents who live in a neighbouring valley It is Christmas Eve and they are bundled off early for the return trip with pockets and napsack stuffed with gifts edible and otherwise for their siblings and parents An unexpected snowfall disorients them and they become completely lost following the wrong serpentine road up the mountain They are unable to find the ridge which connects to the next mountain near their home village and after scrambling blindly among huge rocks and over gigantic ice fields they spend an exhausting sleepless night huddled under a rocky shelter on the edge of the glacier Although the reader realizes that this would be a harrowing experience for two youngsters the hauntingly beautiful description of the natural surroundings inspires a feeling of detachment and calm rather than the expected fear and panic The surreal and eerie beauty of the environment imparts a sense of awe and wonder I feel privileged to have experienced through the senses of the author a part of the earth which I will never see first hand the intense vast silent world of ice and sky which is the unchanging reality of the mountaintop Stifter suffered from anxiety and depression his entire life Like so many writers he depended on the approval of others and despaired over the public indifference to his novels Obviously his own character was one that could not overcome this perception regarding his own inadeuacies He took this public refusal of his life s work so personally that his last act on earth was to unfortunately cut his own throat This is a fiction but all of us bring something of ourselves to the reading of any text that is unless we are dumb to the ways of the heart and our own human impulses What matters to many of us at specific and certain times for others matters to none Within the law I myself am naturally a hardened cold blooded murderer Like a farmer tending to his flock and crops I do what must be done to extricate and eradicate in order to protect the better interest of all I am charged with safekeeping It helps a human to be hard when it Entails A Violence Unbecoming Of A Man So Closely Attuned a violence unbecoming of a man so closely attuned nature when it entails a violence unbecoming of a man so closely attuned to nature is simply a matter of fact and nothing one needs to dwell on But when children are involved this sometimes frozen heart of mine thaws to a degree baffling to the ears of those who now me and who hear me babbling in my pleading cries for mercy And I who have never been a lover of young children even my own rise to their defense and protection like no other It puzzles even myself this manner in which my overwhelming and compassionate emotions seem to exflunct my long hardened stance My posture severely bends in the doubling over of my agony and I wish the present experience had never occurred or would uickly end Much has been praised about this fine little book Rock Crystal In addition there have been others who cannot bear the seeming pretense of this labeled prim and human caring spectacle I understand this latter position better than my own But what is important I think to note is how through our many years we all do change Everything looks different from an altered or it is hoped an evolved point of view Our tastes in food music and literature are good examples of this not to mention our specific needs for sex and meaningful relationships If one lives long enough the important lesson learned is that all of life changes all of the time It is true that everything is in flux in this world ruled by utter chaos What seemed to me at first to be a very brief encounter when taking a peek at the total ninety six page count actually resulted in than seven days of reading time My sessions were only good for a very few pages at each seating So descriptive were the geographies and social sciences that I struggled at times to absorb them all It was almost too much Early on I was asking the author for the point of his story But it did not take me long to realize in fact that Adalbert Stifter was very good at this craft of writing I committed to continue in my struggle and to march on through his text to see what I might see Unlike a few critical others the name Adalbert Stifter interests me to no small degree I have wanted for some time now to read his work just because of that remarkable and mysterious name I believe in the threat of danger involved in just viewing the face of the name s own landscape on this page that claims the name of Adalbert StifterCrazy as it sounds I suspect in some ways this novella may be misconstrued again. And his little sister Sanna set out from their village high up in the Alps to visit their grandparents in the neighboring valley It is the day before Christmas but the weather is mild though of course night falls early in December and the children are warned not to linger The grandparents welcome the children with presents and pack them off with isses Then snow begins to fall ever thickly and steadily Undaunted the chi. ,

As a type of Christian tale because it than once invoked its name I think it instead makes a statement relatively inclusive to all humanity and the brilliantly glorious and fantastical wonders of our world For me a literary vehicle coursing through the streaming blood that comes from the violent death of one Adalbert Stifter a gruesome murder bloodied by his own hand this tale bravely mounts itself in its own way indifferently onto his I ve read Rock Crystal three times in the past three years before the last three Christmases and though I m not a Christian and I m only religious in the sense that I believe certain things to be sacred there is within my being an almost overwhelming feeling of nostalgia associated with that time period between the end of November and the New Year and I solemnize if nothing else that feeling and my family and I try to understand and be grateful for what they have tried to provide me with in this life and so I try to give something in return to my Mom and my Dad and my sister and brother and now my nephews even if that something is only meals I help to prepare and time spent and all in all time spent is the greatest gift one person can give to another person in this brief life This book is a perfect fairy tale that only hints at the supernatural but is all shot through with what one might call magic small villages in wintry mountains and great floes of ice and snow shafts in the waning light and aurora borealis and the utterly enchanting vision of falling snow still to this day as a sad adult falling snow is the most enchanting thing and a children s journey perhaps doomed but never in this miracle place the place of fairy tales where doom is never permanent and thus is the abiding nature of fairy tales they are the one place where our dreams outlast doom it is a simple Christmas story tinged with something of H lderlin s poetic admiration of mountains Rejoice in the tininess of this not grand tale a snowflake and the sweet indness it contains the long dreamy sigh of winter will find its spring It s short and can be read in an hour or so so read it to your children or children you might Thorns On Roses know Beautifully descriptive simple but wonderful this short novella tells the story of two children lost in the mountains The care that Conner takes of his little sister is so incredibly poignant as is the way she listen to absolutely everything he says the amazing trust she show in her brother Loved the way all the villagers pulled together to search for the missing children Much can be read into this story interpretations of a Christian nature acceptance into village life and a survival story where young Connor showed love and wisdom beyond his years A ConfessionI read this book in a wrong season just before the commencement of Lent It is a book for Christmas And it is a wonderful book for Christmas I will read it again and again mostly during the Christmas seasonWhat is it aboutIt is about love and Christmas Twoids a brother and a sister living in one of the Alpine villages go missing on the Christmas eve As they return from the village of their grandparents there occurs a heavy snow and they lose the track They are lost and after a night they are found by the searching group and brought to their village This is such a simple premise for a story But Stifter in writing this story has created a wonderful parable of Christmas There are many allusions to the Christmas event For instance when in the middle of the night the lost ids find a shelter in a cave the night the lost ids find a shelter in a cave they witness a shooting star which brightens up the entire drowsy whiteness with lot of colours And the next day we see that small girl explaining to her mother that she saw the Christ child What sustains everyone alive The love The love that the brother has for his sister and the simple faith of the small girl in her brother s words And in the middle of the night to The Occult Reliquary keep them alive sleeping would have resulted in death the gift of the grandmother coffee extracts for the mother comes in aid The searching party is organized everywhere and the whole village is involved in searching out the mountain The finding of the children brings joy to the entire village At this moment everyone realises that each one is connected by the thread of love And that makes life very joyful And the backdrop is the Christmas day What else one needs to ask for in this short tale In fact the narrations of the natural happenings and the nature are just fantastic That is an added bonus to me Having finished the book a few days ago I m still perplexed by all of the glowing reviews not just from readers but critics and revered authors Iept thinking maybe it s me what am I missingNothing It s a folktale that tells the story of two villages and one family separated by miles of high mountains and years of living in their enclosed separate worlds they cling to what is traditional and to the ancient ways of their forefatherslove their own valley ardently and could scarcely exist away from itThere are three things that link the villages a road that passes through the mountains and two children who travel it regularly between home and grandparents on the other side But on a snowy Christmas Eve when who travel it regularly between home and grandparents on the other side But on a snowy Christmas Eve when children become lost on the mountain we wonder if the villagers are able to close the divide and if so can they do it within timeThough there are parts in the beginning that are wonderfully descriptive when Ldren press on only to take a wrong turn The snow rises higher and higher time passes it is deep night when the sky clears and Conrad and Sanna discover themselves out on a glacier terrifying and beautiful the heart of the void Adalbert Stifter's rapt and enigmatic tale beautifully translated by Elizabeth Mayer and Marianne Moore explores what can be found between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day or on any night of the ye. .
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