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Gilgi, One of Us (Penguin Modern Classics)…
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Gilgi, One of Us (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1931; udgave 2019)

af Irmgard Keun (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1492184,560 (4)7
Gilgi is a secretary in a hosiery firm, but she's not going to stay there for long: she's disciplined and ambitious. But then she falls in love with Martin, a wealthy businessman, and leaves her job for domestic bliss - which turns out to be not that blissful, and Gilgi finds herself a single mother. Revolutionary at the time for its treatment of sexual harassment, abortion, single motherhood and the concept of the 'New Woman', Gilgi remains a perceptive and beautifully constructed novel about one woman's path to maturity.… (mere)
Medlem:AShepher
Titel:Gilgi, One of Us (Penguin Modern Classics)
Forfattere:Irmgard Keun (Forfatter)
Info:Penguin Classics (2019), 240 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Gilgi - One of Us af Irmgard Keun (1931)

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A short yet thought-provokingly brilliant work of feminist fiction, Gilgi, One of Us portrays the fragility of women independence at its inception. This independence slowly collapses from ingrained preconceived notions on supposed gender roles in a heterosexual relationship. Financially independent and full of aspirations, Gilgi finds herself torn between making her man happy and making a life for herself. Strong but also submissive, gentle but also unyielding, a hopeless romantic but also a realist, she is constantly tugged by two opposite emotions; puzzled and frustrated between how women should be by society's standards and how women can be outside of these rigid, caging standards. And whilst there are more opportunities for women as they become part of the workforce, albeit often out of necessities, the expectations of them at home remain the same. Men, meanwhile, still have the utmost control of their own lives, their relationships, and their women. Amidst its social and gender commentary which are still intriguingly and unfortunately observed in the present lives of women, what with how women's roles shift depending on social class yet, stripping it off, they are often fraught with intersecting, somehow similar difficulties under the patriarchy, it spices itself with family drama and self-discovery peppered with the numbing political air during the Weimar Republic. Truly an often ignored classic. ( )
  lethalmauve | Jan 25, 2021 |
Gilgi - eine von uns was Keun's first novel, the story of an independent-minded young woman who, as Keun did, works as a typist in an office in Köln and studies languages at the Berlitz School in the evenings (in her unfinished memoirs, Keun took five years off her age to match Gilgi's situation even better). She is living at home with her middle-class parents, saving up to go travelling, and knows how to have fun whilst keeping men at a safe distance. Everything is very much under control, until her 21st birthday, when she gets some unexpected news from her parents. Shortly afterwards, she meets a man rather different from those she's known up to now, and the firm she works for starts to get into difficulties. She has to do a lot of growing up in a very short space of time.

There are interesting parallels with Keun's second book, Das kunstseidene Mädchen: Gilgi is someone who is determined to be independent and make her own rules for life, irrespective of what society expects of her - and to a certain extent she manages it, although it's a difficult and often frightening process, whilst Doris in the later book is destroyed by the impossible expectations of what life should be that she has been given by popular culture.

Keun's writing with its blend of simple, direct (but often ironic) language, naturalistic dialogue (a lot of it in Kölsch in this book), and passages of freeform stream-of-consciousness is very individual, but obviously heavily influenced by her mentor Alfred Döblin - not quite Berlin Alexanderplatz as retold by Bridget Jones, but somewhere in that direction. Fun, but also moving, and very socially-aware. ( )
  thorold | May 28, 2019 |
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Gilgi is a secretary in a hosiery firm, but she's not going to stay there for long: she's disciplined and ambitious. But then she falls in love with Martin, a wealthy businessman, and leaves her job for domestic bliss - which turns out to be not that blissful, and Gilgi finds herself a single mother. Revolutionary at the time for its treatment of sexual harassment, abortion, single motherhood and the concept of the 'New Woman', Gilgi remains a perceptive and beautifully constructed novel about one woman's path to maturity.

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