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Rock Crystal

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  918 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Seemingly the simplest of stories—a passing anecdote of village life— Rock Crystal opens up into a tale of almost unendurable suspense. This jewel-like novella by the writer that Thomas Mann praised as "one of the most extraordinary, the most enigmatic, the most secretly daring and the most strangely gripping narrators in world literature" is among the most unusual, moving ...more
Paperback, 76 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by NYRB Classics (first published 1853)
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Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've read Rock Crystal three times in the past three years before the last three Christmases, and though I'm not a Christian and I'm only religious in the sense that I believe certain things to be sacred, there is within my being an almost overwhelming feeling of nostalgia associated with that time period between the end of November and the New Year, and I solemnize, if nothing else, that feeling and my family and I try to understand and be grateful for what they have tried to provide me with in ...more
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nyrb
Who am I kidding? I'm not going to finish this thing. I'll get more enjoyment by just staring at the cover lovingly, stroking it with the tippy tip-tops of my fingers, and saying aloud, 'Pretty!' in the voice of an idiot manchild. This isn't the case of a book deserving a good cover; this is the case of a cover deserving a good book... and this just ain't it.

I should have taken the author's name as sufficient warning. I mean, what the hell does an Adalbert Stifter have to tell me? He sounds like
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tedesca
“C’era una volta…”.
No, non comincia così questa novella.
Ma potrebbe: perché ha molto della fiaba.

Come spiega bene nella postfazione Gabriella Bemporad, specialista in letteratura tedesca e mitteleuropea, il racconto lungo di Stifter è pieno di riferimenti a spunti biografici: il fatto curioso è che, però, Stifter non andò mai così in alto in montagna, non aveva conoscenza diretta dei ghiacciai, ma solo attraverso i racconti e i dipinti dell’amico Friedrich Simony, geografo
Diane S ☔
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautifully descriptive, simple but wonderful, this short novella tells the story of two children lost in the mountains. The care that Conner takes of his little sister is so incredibly poignant as is the way she listen to absolutely everything he says, the amazing trust she show in her brother. Loved the way all the villagers pulled together to search for the missing children. Much can be read into this story, interpretations of a Christian nature, acceptance into village life and a survival st ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to my library, this year I was the only Athenian who enjoyed a White Christmas...
Sandy (CA)
In this very unusual story, two children travel a familiar route from their home in an alpine valley to visit their maternal grandparents who live in a neighbouring valley. It is Christmas Eve, and they are bundled off early for the return trip, with pockets and knapsack stuffed with gifts, edible and otherwise, for their siblings and parents.

An unexpected snowfall disorients them and they become completely lost, following the wrong serpentine road up the mountain. They are unable to find the r
Dhanaraj Rajan
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Confession:

I read this book in a wrong season (just before the commencement of Lent). It is a book for Christmas. And it is a wonderful book for Christmas. I will read it again and again mostly during the Christmas season.

What is it about?

It is about love and Christmas.

Two kids (a brother and a sister) living in one of the Alpine villages go missing on the Christmas eve. As they return from the village of their grandparents, there occurs a heavy snow and they lose the track. They are lost and
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, austria
A rather bland fable with stiff characterization and superb landscape descriptions. The story is as cloying as a Thomas Kinkade painting, but the long beautiful passages about the ice fields are hymns.
A dear friend gave me Rock Crystal as a Christmas gift this year and I can highly recommend it as a great Christmas read! Originally published in 1845 it has the sort of timeless feel of a Dickensian classic (albeit without all the characters) and deserves to be better known—why it isn’t truly puzzles me. Perhaps it is because of the author’s unfortunate lack of success and premature demise, but that aside, this little novella is a delight and is going to be stored among my other Christmas treas ...more
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: NYRB December Pick
Shelves: nyrb, novellas, austria
Having finished the book a few days ago, I'm still perplexed by all of the glowing reviews (not just from readers but critics and revered authors). I kept thinking, "maybe it's me… what am I missing?"

Nothing. It's a folktale that tells the story of two villages and one family separated by miles of high mountains and years of living in their enclosed separate worlds.

they cling to what is traditional and to the ancient ways of their forefathers…love their own valley ardently, and could scarcely ex
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NYRB Classics: Rock Crystal, by Adalbert Stifter 1 7 Oct 30, 2013 12:14PM  
NYRB Classics: December 2011: Rock Crystal 51 42 Jan 08, 2012 03:28PM  
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Adalbert Stifter was an Austrian writer, poet, painter, and pedagogue. He was especially notable for the vivid natural landscapes depicted in his writing, and has long been popular in the German-speaking world, while almost entirely unknown to English readers.
More about Adalbert Stifter...