Libby's Reviews > The Blue Flower

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
662102
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2008-hits

This is a strange and beautiful short novel, which revolves around the young poet Friedrich Von Hardenberg's (the 18th century German poet Novalis) inexplicable love for the somewhat slow, not particularly lovely 12-year-old Sophie Von Kuhn, who would become his fiancee. The novel's genius lies in its complete lack of interest in explaining/examining the WHY of Hardenberg's love. This is not a love story or a romance. It is an observation of the sort of ineffable human forces that produce not only love, but also its companion, art.

In this small book what goes unsaid, unseen, and unheard is just as important as what we, as readers, do have immediate access to; it is an object lesson in the writer's art of strategic omission.

Fitzgerald makes many other interesting (and in my opinion, successful) choices: the novel has its own ordering logic, but does not feel compelled to observe the laws of linear chronology; the chapters are mere slivers of storytelling, each with its precise, almost aphoristic title; the language is at times odd and elliptical, and so on, and so forth.

Utterly captivating, and not quite sensical, much like the relationship at the novel's center.
21 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Blue Flower.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 19, 2008 – Finished Reading
February 28, 2008 – Shelved
March 1, 2008 – Shelved as: 2008-hits

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom It's been several years since I read this captivating novel, and I was wondering where to start reviewing it from this distance. Then I read your comments and thought, 'well, damn, I can't say it any better than that!' so I won't try. But I will say that I'd give it 5 stars. We read it for our book club, and after 9 years of monthly meetings, it's still my favorite work we've done (Ok, maybe neck and neck with Nabokov's Pnin ... )
Anyway, your review reminded me why I still like (love?) this book so much. Thanks,Libby!


Libby Tom wrote: "It's been several years since I read this captivating novel, and I was wondering where to start reviewing it from this distance. Then I read your comments and thought, 'well, damn, I can't say it ..."

Thanks, Tom! Your bookclub sounds leagues beyond all of the bookclubs I've ever encountered. I mean, Pnin? The Blue Flower? What kind of madness is this?!



message 3: by Tom (new)

Tom And believe it or not, Libby, we actually discuss the books. I don't mean to suggest that we're all that high-falutin, but based on anecdotal evidence I've heard about other book clubs, we're something of an exception in that regard. But we try not to let that get in the way of imbibing a few spirits and indulging a little gossip when we gather.


back to top