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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  981 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Die achtjährige Lea hat sich nach dem Tod der Mutter in eine eigene Welt zurückgezogen, zu der auch der Vater keinen Zutritt hat. Erst der Klang einer Geige holt sie ins Leben zurück. Lea erweist sich als außerordentliche musikalische Begabung, und schon bald liegen ihr Publikum und Musikwelt zu Füßen. Doch während Lea von Erfolg zu Erfolg eilt, treibt es ihren anfangs übe ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published May 31st 2007 by Hanser (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  981 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Robert Wechsler
I found the storyteller (as opposed to the narrator) and his voice completely unbearable. For a long while, I gave Mercier the benefit of the doubt (based on his first two novels), assuming that he had a reason for the storyteller to be so insufferable, but at 70 pages in, and some flipping ahead, I threw in the literary towel. This one simply wasn't for me. ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After her mother's death, the eight-year-old Lea falls into lethargy from which she wakes up when she listens to a violinist. The girl is fascinated and her father is relieved. She begins to learn how to play the violin to become a celebrated solo violinist later. The story of Lea and her father from his point of view is the focal point of this novella. However the narrator is a random traveling acquaintance of Lea's father, to whom the father pours out his heart.

There are two things that have t
Nell Beaudry
Lea is Pascal Mercier's latest novel, a meditation on loss, intimacy, passion, family ties, and ambition. The story begins with Martijn Van Vliet encountering a recently retired surgeon whose own family ties are tenuous. He is divorced, he and his daughter have a cordial but not close relationship, and he has been feeling unmoored of late. In Martijn, the untethered surgeon discovers a sort of kindred spirit - Martijn is a widower, and he speaks of his daughter, his only child, in the past tense ...more
Theresa Smith
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lea, by Pascal Mercier, was first published in German in 2007, but has since been translated into English and re-released this year. I have read quite a few translated novels, and I’d like to acknowledge from the outset that Shaun Whiteside, the translator, has done an excellent job with this one. There are some lines of dialogue that have been left in French, but French is a language that does not translate well. There are even phrases in the French language that have no English equivalent, so ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Many themes in this book fascinated me personally: the father-daughter relationship, the violin and its music, and the reflections of men in their fifties. The novel tells of a three-day journey by two professionals, driving from the south of France to Bern (where the author, now a professor of philosophy in Berlin, was born). They converse in elegant, refined prose, dotted with foreign words and expressions from their international lives. But what one of them has to tell is a story of how his d ...more
Sabrina M
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thoughtful book from frist to last page. Especially the inner feelings and changes of relationship are described in a very clear and honest way. Moreover I like the author´s talent of building a slow but more and more intense spiral of disaster that grows with every new page.
One star missing because I´m personally not a fan of fast, sneaking changes of the narrative perspective.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
This girl is really young when her mother dies and she becomes withdrawn and sickly until she is suddenly revitalized by the sound of someone playing a violin in a subway station. Her father buys her a violin and gets her lessons and she becomes obsessed with perfecting the instrument. She becomes a violin prodigy and plays concerts to great acclaim. Then her father does something that pushes her over the delicate edge of sanity. Unfortunately I couldn't stick with the book long enough to find o ...more
Aug 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-read, lang-de
This is a pretty depressing book and not (just) because depressing things happen in it. It's ultimately about a father and a daughter, and about how far parents are willing to go to make their children happy. It's quite frightening really - one day you're living your life and enjoying the fruits of your labour and the next you're handed this tiny human being who's supposed to be your new everything. And somehow, a lot of people pull it off. This is, ultimately, a tragic story but it's also touch ...more
The Anxious Bookaholic
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to The Anxious Bookaholic by: My Grandpa
Lea is one of those rare books so beautifully written that simply takes your breath away. It was kind of difficult for me to read it, because though the writing was so enchanting and emotional at some point the emotions are too much, the situations and actions too complicated.
Lea is both romantic and realistic, a bittersweet story about the self- destroying father's love for his daughter.
Definitely a more-than-one-read book. Glad I bought it.
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Since Nachtzug nach Lissabon is one of my favourite novels, i was so curious about the others written by Mercier. Lea is not a masterpiece, yet it's really good. It's all about passion. The destructive love of a father.

And Liliane, the one i loved most: "Poetry, is a strictly solitary affair, soliptist even."
Isa Mueller-wegner
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Page turner - very good read without being shallow
Theresa Smith
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lea, by Pascal Mercier, was first published in German in 2007, but has since been translated into English and re-released this year. I have read quite a few translated novels, and I’d like to acknowledge from the outset that Shaun Whiteside, the translator, has done an excellent job with this one. There are some lines of dialogue that have been left in French, but French is a language that does not translate well. There are even phrases in the French language that have no English equivalent, so ...more
c 2007 [German]
Read in Dutch for leeskring 2018

I wasn't thrilled when I saw we were going to read another book by Mercier, as I remembered not much enjoying reading his Night Train to Lisbon several years ago.

In the meantime, we also read two of that Hungarian writer's novels, Sandor Marai, Gloed and De erfenis van Eszter, and I would now say that to me these two authors write the same kind of books -- a man experiencing very intense emotions, though usually not able to express them and not know
Kathy Adams
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I bought this book, because I started reading it in a bookshop and thought the writing was beautiful, almost poetic and the message seemed quite deep, profound and philosophical - definitely something different, that appeared to be thought provoking. The pace of the book was very slow and is essentially a novel about a young girl who becomes “closed off” after the passing of her mother. She then has a re-awakening of sorts when she becomes passionately interested in learning to play the violin. ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up while travelling in Europe - the premise as written on the cover looked great and I enjoy picking up books I don't see in the US.

The author's (or translator's) use of language is very descriptive and poetic, but the pace of this book is very slow and it's 300 pages of unrelenting angst.

The ending is tragic for one of the main characters and open-ended for the other. I never did understand why Paul had done what he did.

It was OK, I was able to finish it, but certainly not w
Gail M
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
When I was a young violinist I really admired the kids who actually like to practice; they were so lucky to enjoy something so onerous (at the time, not now at all), so I was interested in this book about a young woman unearthing herself from grief through music.

Unfortunately, the narrator telling the story is like being stuck at a table with a raconteur and no more wine available. I gave it two stars because I can't figure out how to check "Gave up on" (which I did) and still write a review.
Anne Goodwin
When Lea van Vliet is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, her psychiatrist warns her father to stay away, implying their relationship is at the root of her problems. But, to his mind, Martijn van Vliet has been a devoted father. Although he did not want the responsibility of raising a child, since his wife died, he sacrificed his own career as a research scientist to support Lea’s passion for the violin. But what does her love of music and performing really represent, and what pain is it masking ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Book That Stays with You Long after

While I do read German, I lack the depth to be able to "feel" it as a native. So I have to wait for the translation.
This is the third novel by Mercier that I have read. And each is one that has left me pondering.
I see that he has a fourth novel, Der Klavierstimmer. I hope I do not have wait long to read it.
Christopher Condit
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Attitudinally similar to Proust, dealing deep with memory. Different in style though, without all the weight and forms of endlessness. Unfortunately coy, hiding key plot points to keep read in the dark. Violin prodigy loses it, with famous old violins and family drama/tragedy. Champagne problems, basically.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The atmosphere is melancholy and unworldly but it begins to drag after a while. This a doom-laden tale where tragedy seems inevitable. Unfortunately this sorry tale seems to was over you without leaving any lasting impression. It promises much but fails to deliver.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
A stage-door parent's journey into the finer realms of exceptionality vs. insanity. Good read! ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Tragic novel of genius, madness, times it was ugly , but there was truth
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Four stars, but only because the standards were high after the Nighttrain to Lisbon.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very sad and depressing
Adelei Van Der Velden
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most compelling novels on what can go wrong in growing up when communication between parent and child fails in face of life's biggest tragedy in a child's life. ...more
Willy Van
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mr. Andy MS
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
What did trigger girl's madness – mother's death, scene of violin's play at underground station, father's unconditional love? Or she was born like that?
I could not find any answers in this book; probably they are just not there or perhaps not for me.
But I liked descriptive language so much as not to pay much attention to some banalities in the narrative.

Is depression triggered by something or is it there – just because.

Looking forward to read something else from the author as I have feeling he c
Sarah Bowe
I tried. I got 100 pages in and it just wasn't interesting to me

*Edit* I finished it, but I thought it was boring
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: auf-deutsch
A bittersweet exploration of the challenges of being a father to a daughter, of being a friend to another troubled man, and of losing one's youthful confidence. At times, it feels like watching a train-wreck, and I was occasionally frustrated with the fecklessness of the main character. Nevertheless, the themes are common to many fathers as they watch they daughters grow up and go through the (necessary) process of distancing themselves. The narrator plays a crucial and intriguing role to modera ...more
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Messenger Bags 1 2 Dec 14, 2017 05:32AM  
Goodreads Librari...: German "book number" vs. ISBN 9 37 Aug 18, 2015 01:30AM  
Latvija: Ārzemju marts 2015: LEA 1 47 Mar 01, 2015 10:58AM  

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Pascal Mercier is the pseudonym of Peter Bieri, a Swiss writer and philosopher.
Bieri studied philosophy, English studies and Indian studies in both London and Heidelberg.

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“... тя свири така, сякаш строи имагинерна катедрала от звуци, в която някой ден би могла да се подслони, когато вече няма да е в състояние да понася живота.” 2 likes
“Lea lasciò andare il cane, inciampò nel guinzaglio, spalancò le braccia, il padre doveva essere stato colto da un senso di lacerazione vedendo il gesto implorante e colmo di struggente desiderio della figlia che non sapeva se entrare o andarsene e faceva il folle tentativo di fuoriuscire dal tempo e da tutto quello che il tempo combina con gli esseri umani, fuoriuscire semplicemente dal tempo e continuare a vivere là dove fa meno male possibile.” 2 likes
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