Girl with a thimble of Michael Köhlmeier Review

Topics: Fairy Tale

It is inevitable: with the title of this little book a Hans Christian Andersen comes Tale of “Girl with the woods” to mind, and the cover design – melancholy girl eyes look flehlich the viewer on – reinforces the association.

But much more than grinding poverty and winter cold beggar existence, the two girls do not have in common. The delicate six-year child who gets paid a tiny treasure rather than having to sell him as his doomed relatives, acts thrown out of nowhere in a world that shall remain nameless.

The scene is any modern city, perhaps in Germany or Austria (the home of the author).

The little girl does not know even know her own name. They had been called “Yiza” which may mean always, and that’s that. She does not know the language spoken by the people here. Except for a word that has impressed her “uncle” again and again: When she hears “police”, they should scream until you stay out of the air.

“Uncle” was her only friend.. He “gave over them.” In the morning he sent them with clear instructions alone to beg in the shops of the center. There she met many good people who have this and that gave, a lollipop, chocolate, a few cents. In the evening she took “the uncle” from the agreed meeting point. One day, but no more, and since the girl is set at a time on his own. You spend the night in a homeless shelter, wanders through the city, ransacked container.

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As concerned people finally call the police officers to help, Yiza does not recognize them as “police.” Instead of screaming like a banshee she enjoys the trip – “she was often sat in her life in a car.” The officials bring in a home. There taking care of the good sister Agnes, bathing and creaming it wins the tender loving beings, that’s so cute to look at, spoiled their “favorite” with “new things” from the clothing distribution and a teddy. That the small understands nothing, it makes it easy to be good to her, praising her to give her confidential gestures and phrases for which you otherwise might not find it heart.

The other children in Home have lost their childlike innocence a long time and with their cuteness and the caring, loving care. Two boys speak their language: Schamhan, the fuzz on the upper lip already has, and the slightly smaller Arian. With the sister there are quarrels, misunderstandings, rebukes, curses. Yiza not understand a word, but the irritable mood scares her. cut off as the two in the night, to Yiza joins them. Arian puts her a small brass-colored thimble on the injured thumb.

“Father.” – “Mother” – “child” they pull into the terrible world outside, where they once again unprotected meet on fairytale dangers , “At night they came to a dense evergreen forest.” The two “big” know the tricks and risks in their struggle for survival. They steal here and there, breaking into houses, hide, knowing that they always threatened with deportation. Yiza ill, a greenhouse owner maintains it healthy, the vulnerable, cute little thing holds but selfish and possessive caught. The plot takes on dramatic proportions.

In some ways recalls the story of three precarious days thieves who beat up district by district, from danger to danger by an opaque adult world, adventurers classic by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain , Even more striking, but it acts as adapted to the current situation in Europe: Klaukinder, human trafficking, uprooted migrant workers and profiteers. The scenery consists of standard elements of our big-city daily life: supermarkets, dumpster, subway, Internet. But the clear, applied in the title amalgamation with ancient fairy tale elements (the Fairy Godmother, the wicked witch, the magic forest, wandering, tests, protector and savior, good and evil, Ding symbols) it relieves the daily actuality. The anonymity of places and characters (you do not know where they come from, are where put them on, they can displaced Roma children or war refugees be) makes them interchangeable, letting it stand for many other stakeholders, refers to the existential of Yizas situation and career.

Strangely, the story does not go but under the skin. It stays in your head, not the heart. First, the restricted, brittle voice style for a cool atmosphere. The omniscient narrator is limited to the minimum language potential (basic vocabulary, key sentences, fragments and ellipses) of a child with simple, fatalistic world view and dispense with it (even simple, but the possibilities that it could, for example, offer the style of folk and literary fairy tales formed on adult

In the late author leaves the small Yiza in the future dream. She would marry Arian, are cared for by him and protected. His dream is to score once in an important football match and be cheered by all viewers. As a couple, then Yiza and Arian promise they wish each other “every day praise”.

The encouragement to praise their fellow human beings is one of the subtle messages directed this book to the reader. She is friendly and worthy of consideration, but unfortunately of rather peripheral active force in a society that values ​​people mainly to efficiency and productivity and even trimming their children to efficiency. Yiza points to the extreme case of this development: children who rob criminals childhood and humanity so that they collect as soulless machines Money.


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Girl with a thimble of Michael Köhlmeier Review. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

Girl with a thimble of Michael Köhlmeier Review
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