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Two Women and a Poisoning

Two Women and a Poisoning 1

by Alfred Doblin
Paperback
Publication Date: 05/01/2021
3/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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What would it take for a woman to poison her husband?

Young couple Elli and Link have been married for a year when Elli meets Gretchen, and the two soon become friends. When Elli confides in her friend about the abuse she suffers at her husband’s hands, they hatch a plan for Elli to escape. But when their efforts prove unsuccessful, the pair begin to discuss a more permanent solution to Elli’s problem: poison.

Based on a famous murder trial which took place in Berlin in 1923, this short novel by the master of German modernism, Alfred Döblin, explores questions of moral culpability and societal expectations which remain as relevant today as in the 1920s.

ISBN:
9781922330383
9781922330383
Category:
Fiction in translation
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
05-01-2021
Language:
English
Publisher:
Text Publishing
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
176
Dimensions (mm):
196x129x18mm
Weight:
0.16kg
Alfred Doblin

Alfred Döblin (1878–1957) was a German novelist, essayist and short-story writer. He was also a doctor, practising psychiatry in working-class Berlin, the setting of both his most famous novel, Berlin Alexanderplatz, and his true-crime tale Two Women and a Poisoning.

In 1933, Döblin was forced to flee Germany because of his Jewish origins and lived in France and the USA for the duration of the war.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

3 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • true crime novel not for everyone

    by on

    2.5★s
    Two Women and a Poisoning is a true-crime novel by German essayist, novelist and psychiatrist, Alfred Doblin. It was first published in 1924 as part of a series: Outsiders of Society: The Crimes of Today. This edition is translated from German by Imogen Taylor, who also writes the introduction, describing what the reader might expect. This edition also includes, (for comparison?) two essays about the crime written by others at the time of the trial.

    The bare bones of the story are that vivacious young Elli meets a carpenter, Link. After a short courtship, they marry, their marriage deteriorates within months, and Elli meets Margarete (Grete). They fall in love, exchanging over six hundred letters in less than five months and, eventually, Elli is encouraged by Grete to kill Link by poisoning, claiming she plans to poison her own husband. After Link dies, they are arrested and tried.

    Doblin calls his style of writing “factual imagination”, and it includes much detailed dissection of thoughts, feelings and emotions of the main players, perhaps to be expected from a psychiatrist. For the common reader, the style is excessively analytical to the point of tedium. He enhances his story with nineteen pages of Venn diagrams that are virtually impenetrable to anyone without knowledge of psychiatry.

    Also analysed is the handwriting of both women whilst in custody, and Elli’s dreams whilst in custody. It’s true that writing style changes over the decades, so while this is hailed as a classic, it may not be to everyone’s taste: it may appeal to those with an interest in true crime and the psychiatric analysis thereof.
    This unbiased review is from a copy provided by Text Publishing.