The Weight of Things

The Weight of Things

  • Paperback

A strange slow-burning domestic nightmare, tinged with the traumas of war.

The first of the late Marianne Fritz’s works to be translated into English. This dark gem of a novel swerves from uneasy pantomime comedy to sheer domestic horror. Fritz has a clammy handle on all that makes humans miserable: roll up for the horrors of jealousy, war, confinement, mental illness, regret and unhappy motherhood.

The Weight of Things is the first book, and the first translated book by Austrian writer Marianne Fritz (1948–2007). After winning acclaim with this novel—awarded the Robert Walser Prize in 1978—she embarked on a brilliant and ambitious literary project called “The Fortress,” which earned her cult status, comparisons to James Joyce, and admirers including Elfriede Jelinek and W. G. Sebald.

Yet in this, her first novel, we discover not an eccentric fluke of literary nature but rather a brilliant and masterful satirist, philosophically minded yet raging with anger and wit, who under the guise of a domestic horror story manages to expose the hypocrisy and deep abiding cruelties running parallel, over time, through the society and the individual minds of a century.


  • Written in a brisk tone that disguises its destination, this slow-­burning horror story steps quietly and methodically into a heart of familial darkness... The war haunts this novel, adding to the weight of everyday things and everyday evils that Fritz so ingeniously dissects.

    New York Times
  • Fritz won the Kafka Prize in 2001 and her work, like his, is both deeply upsetting and profound. Her translator writes in his ‘Afterword’ that ‘there is a class of artists whose work is so strange and extraordinary that it eschews all gradations of the good and the mediocre: genius and madness are the only descriptors adequate to its scale,’ and he situates Fritz quite forcefully in this class. He seems to be correct.

    Chicago Tribune
  • A harrowing book about the horrors of motherhood, jealousy, and war trauma.

    Kirkus Reviews