Book Review: The Blue Flower

Covering the 1790s in Germany, “The Blue Flower” is a fictional treatment of Friedrich von Hardenberg, known as Fritz, who later evolves to become the poet Novalis. The story focuses on twenty-two-year-old Fritz who becomes enchanted with the twelve-year-old Sophie von Kühn and asks for her hand in marriage. No one can understand the attraction. Fritz is educated and comes from a family of substance, whereas Sophie is termed a dullard without means or money. Fritz’s quest to finish writing a story about a sublime blue flower serves as a leitmotif. However, Fritz’s desire to write a story about the blue flower is never brought to fruition. The reader is left guessing as to what the blue flower signifies—its meaning is intentionally left an unfinished puzzle. And yet as a metaphor, the riddle of the blue flower is obvious. Fritz’s passion for Sophie reveals his true calling to become a man of letters and philosophy, the great German Romantic poet Novalis. There is always a place for a small book that tells a larger story, but this story suffers from a dearth of details, the lack of the rich tapestry that the reader needs to be transported to an epic time in history, when Goethe lived and exerted great influence. Author Penelope Fitzgerald leaves out overmuch, making if difficult for the reader to connect with the story’s historical context or with its huge cast of characters, some as flat as wallpaper. Even the appearance of the great man himself, Goethe is not fully fleshed-out or credible.

 

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Patricia Vaccarino

Patricia Vaccarino is an accomplished writer who has written award-winning film scripts, press materials, articles, essays, speeches, web content, marketing collateral, and nine books.


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