Larissa has written this great review of the novel Woods as part of her CAE preparation.

Wald (English, Woods) is a novel written by the Austrian journalist and author Doris Knecht. The story takes place partly in the capital city of Austria, Vienna, and partly in the countryside of western Austria. The story is based on the fashionable desire to create your life self-sufficiently, here in a twisted way.

This book portrays a former fashion designer, called Marian, who has moved from Vienna to a rural village in the mountains. The problem is that she hasn’t made the decision voluntarily. Marian used to live in an expinsively furnished top-floor flat with a roof garden and wore fashionable designer clothes. Not only did she own her own flower shop, but she was also engaged to a handsome and high-earning man with whom she socialized in upper-class circles. Now she lives alone in a modest little house with a bad-tempered neighbour close to the woods. Having hardly any money and no food for the next day, Marian starts to make use of the simplest and oldest methods of food gathering.

The great strength of this book is its unconventionally chronological structure. The book starts with the present day which follows the turning point in the main character’s life. Step by step, reasons that might have caused this great change in life are revealed. It’s this exact narrative style which makes the book so gripping.

Although it first seemed to be a simple story, the reader should be ready for the unpredictable. This book is a real page turner and I would recommend it to everybody who needs motivation following a life changing event.