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Abiding Cruelty in Marianne Fritz’s The Weight of Things: Ploughshares

Translated from German into English in 2015, Austrian author Marianne Fritz’s The Weight of Things presents domesticity and motherhood as intolerable, even unbearable, in the aftermath of the Second World War. Though this particular ‘weighty circumstance’ has come to a close, mundane life is now marked by a pervasive cruelty that endures until Berta Schrei is finally placed in a psychiatric ward. The novel examines ‘the weight of things’ as this simple, consistent cruelty, and how it works to rob Berta of what she holds dear.

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Sue Rainsford