Cover image for Lady of the south wind
Lady of the south wind
García Sánchez, Javier.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Dama del viento sur. English
Physical Description:
221 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Translation of: La dama del viento sur.
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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This 1985 novel was a great success in the author's native Spain. While the author is Spanish, all his characters are German. The style is old-fashioned and reminiscent of Thomas Mann. Most of the book consists of a monologue: Hans Kruger is telling Andreas Dorpfeld about his overwhelming fascination with Olga Dittersdorf. His dutiful, exhaustively thorough, even clinical, account lends a certain atmosphere of detachment, even of eavesdropping, to the story. The three of them work at an explosives manufacturer--a well-chosen occupation as the patient reader will discover. Kruger's life is reduced to his preoccupation with Olga. He studies her eyes, lips, nail-bitten hands with hopeless passion. She tolerates his worship, spending hours with him at bars and then returning to her athlete lover. She is, allegedly, the lady of the south wind--a hot, dry wind that hastens the ripening of fruit and stirs the desires of women--but Olga remains in control of hers, and Hans ends up in an asylum. A demanding but intriguing novel that tinkers with the notion of subjective realities wherein anything is possible. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Loosely based on the theme of the errant knight destroyed by la belle dame sans merci , this Spanish bestseller explores the interior life of Hans Kruger. A rather ordinary man, Kruger suffers a mental breakdown when he fails to win the love of Olga Dittersdorf, a beautiful and, at least in his eyes, mysterious young woman who works with him in an explosives factory. The bulk of the novel takes place at the sanitarium where Kruger is confined; after some time, he is pronounced cured and returns to work. But he has never truly abandoned his obsession with Olga, and daily contact with her pushes him over the edge. He literally disintegrates, blowing himself up with explosives, leaving behind only the message ``Tell her I await her there.'' Olga is oblivious to her role in Kruger's death, which heightens the pathetic nature of the affair. Sanchez's skillful handling of a sensitive subject matter, and his graceful, expressionistic prose, won him Spain's Pio Baroja prize. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Hans Kruger is obsessed with Olga Dittersdorf, whose enormous blue eyes and classical beauty would delight a Renaissance sculptor, whose triangular Byzantine face recalls Modigliani, but whose essence can never be reproduced. Although he carries her about with him mentally, Olga does not belong to him, and this realization regularly sends Hans to the nearest bar--and eventually to a sanatorium, where the bulk of the novel takes place as a hypnotic monolog. The work takes its name from the collective sensual bewitchment inspired by the south wind, which comes periodically to the coastal regions of Germany near Lubeck, where Olga was born. In examining the tragedy of Hans's infatuation, the author comes closer to the harrowing despair of phenomenology than the historical sequencing of a narrative. Recommended primarily for its existential and psychiatric implications.-- Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.