Mrs. Sartoris


Margarethe lives in a quiet German town with her mother-in-law, teenage daughter, and dependable but unexciting husband.  When she begins an affair with a married man, she envisions an entirely new, more passionate future for herself. 

Narrated in two alternating timelines that center around one thrilling, criminal act, Mrs. Sartoris is a startling portrait of a complex female character.

"As he looked up at me, utterly thunderstruck but also as if dragged back out of every pain and every disappointment, the thought flashed through my head that I could dismiss the whole thing as madness, a whim, just more extravagant than any other whims, a sudden nocturnal excursion, a hormonal disturbance, something absurd that had already played itself out in the first gray of dawn.  He didn't have much imagination, almost none apparently, but even he knew that there were truths that were only valid for an hour or two, that one was capable of things in the night that one not only rued in the daylight but no longer even understood."

Elke Schmitter is a German novelist and journalist.  Her books include Mrs. Sartoris and Minor Misdemeanors.

Published:  2000
Length:  143 pages
Set in:  Germany
Translated by:  Carol Brown Janeway