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The Jews' Beech

3.08 of 5 stars 3.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,411 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Based on a true story, this haunting tale centers on two brutal murders—the first of a local forester and the second of a Jewish moneylender near a beech tree—and the impact these events have on the life of Friedrich Mergel, a herdsman with a turbulent family history. A prototype of the murder mystery and a thoughtful examination of village society, this intriguing novella ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Oneworld Classics (first published 1842)
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Vishy
‘The Jews’ Beech’ was recommended by one of my friends. As it was short, I thought I will read it. I also found the writer’s name interesting – she must be the writer with the longest name whose work I have read :) It is about the life and times of a boy called Friedrich Mergel. The story starts in 1738 and ends towards the end of the 18th century. How this boy grows up to become a young man and the experience he goes through and the strange happenings in the village where he lives form the stor ...more
Susanne
Ich habe mit der festen Überzeugung zu der Novelle gegriffen, sie nicht zu mögen. Die Droste kannte ich nur als Dichterin mir schwer verständlicher Naturlyrik (liegt vielleicht an meiner Heimat in einem sehr süddeutschen Dialekt?), die ich aber als eine der wenigen Frauen, die vor der Mitte des 19. Jhs. überhaupt in Literaturgeschichten erwähnt werden, unbedingt mögen wollte! Also habe ich mit "Die Judenbuche" einen neuen Versuch gestartet und war von der düsteren Atmosphäre der beschriebenen Ge ...more
Kate
This was one of those novels I had to read for Uni, but which are quoted so often that I always wanted to read it for myself.

It is an easy read, I can understand why most german schools read this in class 9 or so. The crimestory is easy, also, it really happened. But the author made up a story about what happened before the murder and after the murder, so it's quite inetresting for the kids to divides reality from fiction.
ALso, thanks to the work with light and dark and with Nature, it is a good
...more
Wendel
Interesting novella that will keep you occupied for some time after finishing it. This is gothic horror, but it goes deeper than usual in the genre.

Droste-Hülshoff gives an old case of murder and suicide a social and psychological context. We learn about the background of the presumed murderer Friedrich (drunk and violent father, pious humiliated mother, cruel village children, isolation, superstition), next his escape in petty criminality and his development of a split personality (his shy alte
...more
inga
I read this in school and, surprisngly enough, nobody but me liked it--which might be attributed to the fact that we were forced to read it by our teacher. But I liked the story, and what it tells us. The creepy, chilling atmosphere is well done, and I bet it was considered bold and exotic when it got published (late 18th century).

It's pretty short but still intriguing. My Mom told me she had to read this in school as well when she was my age, and she said she only remembered that she thought it
...more
Branden
i didn't hate this. i actually thought it was quite moving in parts, but i'm also apparently a sucker for literature about small paranoid rural villages in the 18th and 19th centuries. i thought the translation was a serious slog. i wish i had a class or reading group to discuss this with, as i am eager to understand all the hidden meanings and wisdoms everyone keeps talking about.

update from a little later:

after reading around a bit online, i feel like this book actually might have been AMAZING
...more
Laura
Oct 04, 2014 Laura marked it as to-read
Recommended to Laura by: Wendel
An English translation can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg, pages 932-1037.
Mia
A German classic, published 1842, good stuff!
Orcun
Gotik unsurlar da barındırmakla birlikte, ilk polisiye hikayelerden biri sayılabilir (1842). Gerçekçi bir üslupla yansıtılan günlük kötülüklerin (alkolizm, şiddet, kaçakçılık, yoksulluk, v.b.) çevresini kuşatan bir belirsizlik var ve - bence - hikaye bittiğinde de o belirsizlik kaybolmuyor, yoruma açık kalıyor.
NOT: Hikayenin Türkçe çevirisinde bazı cümlelerde hata var; neyse ki, İngilizcesi ve hatta aslından okumak isteyenler için Almancası da aynı kitapta yer alıyor.

Danielle Schwendener
Die Handlung kommt etwas hölzern daher, dafür ist die Sprache auf eine faszinierende Art poetisch, die komplexen Schachtelsätze ungewöhnlich reichhaltig. Durch die Beschreibungen der Verbrechensuntersuchung wird dem Leser ein seltener Einblick in die Kriminalistik des 18. Jahrhunderts gewährt.
Sue
First published in 1842 the book tells the story of a murder. Lots of minute detail - although only 80 pages- and a brilliant depiction of the author's homeland - Germany. She was one of Germany's most distinguished poets and the writing reflects this.
Amy
I read the English translation by Lillie Winter. It was a page turner, but I was disappointed at the end because I still didn't really know what had happened. It makes more sense to me as a crime mystery than a gothic/horror novel.
Ashley Cox
Well, suffice to say, it was a rather ... different novella. It very much contained a murder mystery/gothic-esque feel about it and alas, by the end, the reader is still left with many questions unanswered ...
Dennis
Ein Krimi am Vorabend der Revolution - nebenbei wird auch noch Antisemitismus behandelt. Gefällt mir!
Sabine
Annette von Droste-Hülshoff is the Lady on the 20 DM (Deutsche Mark - former currency in Germany) bill.
Eva
depicts antisemitism before Hitler in a frightening way
Jamie
Kriminalgeschichte, Antisemitismus, offene Endung...
Michelle
Typical school-literature and not very interesting.
Kevin
This is my favorite German Novella. I lived in the area Droste-Hülshoff was from and wrote about.
Katie
Katie added it
Aug 27, 2015
Jelena
Jelena added it
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Annette von Droste-Hülshoff was a 19th-century German writer and composer. She was one of the most important German poets and author of the novella Die Judenbuche.
More about Annette von Droste-Hülshoff...
Die Judenbuche / Ausgewählte Gedichte Gedichte (Die Ausgabe von 1844) (German Edition) Gedichte und Prosa Sämtliche Gedichte Bei uns zu Lande auf dem Lande (German Edition)

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