A tale of a most beautiful kind of friendship, of honesty and of two people striving towards the same goal.
A woman with exceptionally deep, expressive eyes, who, however, was not blessed with outer beauty, is courted by an exceptionally popular, handsome man.
Stifter’s depiction of these two beautiful souls, Brigitta and “the Major,” is both gentle and subtle.
The characters’ nobility, their deep inclination toward each other and the author’s elegant, spirited prose, still moved me on the fifth read or listen, and, I’m sure, will do so again in the future.
Told in a first-person narrative, this novella describes the encounter of a young German traveler with a mysterious Major, whom he later visits at his castle in Hungary. As a friend of the house, he spends several months at the castle where he takes an active part in daily life, assists with management of the expansive estate and gets to know the people in the area. Little by little, he learns about the Major’s life, which is closely linked to that of his neighbor Brigitta. The two have shared a deep affection for one another for many years and have derived mutual benefit from their collaboration.
Stifter’s unique prose delicately depicts the souls of these characters who have been shaped by their suffering: their strength, the dignity of noble pride, goodness and honesty.