Fantasies of Danger and Solitude

Needless to say since this particular novel is in fact the journal of the last person alive there are no other human characters in the book, which was a real treat, and I found it peculiar that somewhere on the sleeve, someone, an esteemed critic I gather, had described the book as dystopian fiction because it’s not as if the woman’s circumstances are portrayed apocalyptically and overall she does not suffer a great deal. That’s not to say her predicament is construed romantically or becomes rarefied and nauseatingly didactic, not at all; this is very much a book about survival, and the grievous psychological ramifications and gruelling practical exigencies occasioned by confinement in this recently depopulated environment are in fact delineated with acuity and care. However, the profound existential and cosmological repercussions precipitated by such extraordinary isolation are also beautifully charted and it is quite impossible to stop reading because in a sense you want to go where she is going; you want to be undone in just the way she is being undone. Indeed, it is like a last daydream from childhood in many ways because hopefully the world for a child is mostly sticks and mountains and huge lone birds and as such almost all of childhood is taken up hopefully with just these kinds of boundless fantasies of danger and solitude.

- Claire-Louise Bennett in her book Pond, discussing the novel The Wall by Marlen Haushofer