Shelfie: What the Faculty is Currently Reading

Our Distinguished Max Kade Professor Ulrike Draesner recommends a current title from her bookshelf: Die Bergfahrt (Ascent) by Ludwig Hohl.


I read a small book called Die Bergfahrt (which Donna Stonecipher chose to translate as Ascent) by the Swiss author Ludwig Hohl (1904-1980) and I admire Hohl's skill in giving life to the mountain he "describes."

Bergfahrt tells the story of two young men at the beginning of the last century who set out for a mountain hike in the Alps. They don't seem to know each other too well; their ideas about a joyful climb into ice and snow differ wildly. Soon into the story, we realize that there is a third protagonist: the nameless mountain. Hohl proves a grandiose writer when it comes to capturing the volatile, soothing, harsh, challenging, rewarding, and antagonistic character of the Alpes. He focuses on the interaction of man and "nature", social relationships, and "destiny."

Wonderful rhythmical prose, concise, unrelenting, suspenseful. There is a tragic end – but even this will surprise you.

 - Ulrike Draesner