7,856 book reviews and counting...

Malina Reviews

Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann, Philip Boehm, Rachel Kushner


Ingeborg Bachmann, Philip Boehm, Rachel Kushner

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 28 May 2019
ISBN: 9780811228725

Malina invites the reader on a linguistic journey, into a world that stretches the very limits of language with Wittgensteinian zeal and Joycean inventiveness, where Ingeborg Bachmann ventriloquizes--and in the process demolishes--Proust, Musil, and Balzac, and yet filters everything through her own utterly singular idiom. Malina is, quite simply, unlike anything else; it's a masterpiece.

  • The GuardianBook of the Day
5 stars out of 5
Nicci Gerrard
9 Jul 2019

"eerie, vulnerable, brave and captivating"

And yet for all its terror and dread, its death-haunted self-interrogations, Malina is never a depressing novel. Instead, it is eerie, vulnerable, brave and captivating. With its long ribbons of digressive sentences – sometimes looping over a page – and its echoes and rhythms that bring coherence where there is none, it performs a task that it declares impossible: retrieves a self from the rubble, redeems the corrupted act of writing, becomes its own unwritten “beautiful book”.

Bachmann died in a fire in her bedroom (apparently caused by a lit cigarette) in 1973. Malina, which was to have been the overture to her Death Styles sequence, became her sole novel. It urges us, down the decades, to “speak across borders even if borders pass through every word”.