Winner of the 2007 German Book Prize for the year's best novel, Die Mittagsfrau was first published in English as The Blind Side of the Heart (2009) and then reprinted as The Blindness of the Heart--a reference to the ways in which characters come to avoid those they love after repeated hardship, and, more broadly, to the ways in which the state can persuade society to "see" only what has been sanctioned. Julia Franck's novel chronicles key moments in the life of Helene Würslich, a fictional Jewish-German young woman whose transition from late childhood to early adulthood is characterized by serial abandonment. Her mother's mental illness, her father's enabling indulgence, her elder sister's increasing drug dependence, her fiancé's abrupt death, and her later husband's zealotry for the rising Nazi regime are presented as precursors to her own emotional numbness and the eventual...
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