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  • ★★★☆☆

Love in Five Acts, by Daniel Krien

I had high hopes for this book, but in the end it left me a little cold. It’s psychologically astute, written in a refreshingly direct tone, and I also enjoyed the insight into the relationship between East and West Germany, as was. Unfortunately, I didn’t really engage with the characters or their stories.

I was drawn in by the line in the blurb: "what is left to five women when they have fulfilled their role as wives, mothers, friends, lovers, sisters and daughters?” It’s a good question, but the answer here still seems to largely revolve around men. Four of the five characters are either obsessed with a man they’ve lost, obsessed with finding one, or finally happy because they have. Even the fifth character, who I related to the most, seems to have her story skewed at the last moment so it was suddenly about her Dad.

The five characters are connected enough to lead you nicely from one story to the next, but I would have preferred if there were an overall arc connecting them all at the end. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled for this kind of book by the magnificent Girl, Woman, Other!

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