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Book review: My First Wife, By Jakob Wassermann


Herzog, a young writer, is struggling to fend off poverty when Ganna Mevis, the youngest of six daughters in a well-heeled family, begins her pursuit of him, groupie-like and ardent.

He senses trouble but a marriage is made, with Herzog compromising on love in order to achieve financial security. The rest of this gripping, autobiographical story is filled with infidelity, divorce and post-marital rage.

Translated by Michael Hofmann, it is suprisingly modern in its depiction of the emotioanl trauma of a bad marriage.