When a 21-year-old publishes her first novel, most of which she wrote four years earlier, the critics are usually quite curious. Galvagni’s debut was awarded the Rauris Literature Prize and she was celebrated as a wunderkind of the Austrian literary scene. She has since retreated from literature and lives and works today as a doctor in Paris.

Melancholiatells the partially autobiographical story of a young girl looking for her place in the world. Her father ill, her relationship to her mother strained, the protagonist Bettina moves in an atmosphere of sickness, suffering, literature, despair and memory.

The reader is sucked into the world of a psychologically instable young girl who is suffering from anorexia. Busy with the sickness and her war against her own body, Bettina retreats from everyday life. Only rarely do her parents, doctors, friends or teachers penetrate her bubble. Bettina’s knowledge of the abysmal depths of humanity and emotional connections are remarkable and are to be expected of someone far more mature.

Title: Melancholia
Author: Bettina Galvagni
Year of Release: 1997
Publisher: Residenz
ISBN: 978-3701710683

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