Book review: “Desdemona – if you had only spoken!”

This one’s a keeper.

Eleanor Bron translates and introduces a work by German author Christine Bruckner. The work is 11 speeches/musings by real (including Gudrun Ensslin, Mrs Martin Luther) and fictional (Desdemona, Mary, Effi Brest etc) women as they reflect on their lives and how they have been shaped (and mostly constrained/contained) by men and their menfolk. The subtitle, chosen by Bron, makes it sound much more po-faced and “bra-burning” than it actually is – “Eleven Uncensored Speeches of Eleven Incensed Women”

It’s witty, thoughtful, occasionally bawdy and very thought-provoking. Bron’s intro (worth reading!) recalls first encountering the book “that delicious transaction which is like actually purchasing hope and the promise of ecstacy.”

This is one I wish I had read thirty years ago, not just because it is great fun – might have helped my moral development [or is that mere information deficitism?] Oh well, perhaps better late than never.

Btw – it is probably better to read one a night over 11 nights (I polished it off in three), because it gets quite full-on in places.

One odd mistake – Gudrun Ensslin was born in 1940, not 1934

See also someone else’s take, here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: