Englischsprachige Literatur

Cooley Martha

The Archivist

1998, Backbay Books, New York, 1999


This is a first novel, and an ambitious one, too. Martha Cooley is heavily indebted to Anita Brookner´s “Possession” and Donna Tart´s “a Secret History”. She may have written her thesis about T.S.Eliot and found recycling her findings by creating a novel might be a good idea.

Matthias, a middle-aged archivist at a university library, meets a young eager and determined student, Roberta, who wants to get access to the letters T.S.Eliot wrote to a long term lady friend. Roberta and Matthias begin a complicated relationship. Roberta´s Jewish familiy history is revealed, Matthias´ difficult and in the end tragic marriage is unfolded -  he broods a lot over his wife´s suicide -  but not much is gained in arousing the reader´s interest or pleasure of reading.

So she plods on, thinking now and then “ah, that´s a clever turn in the narrative” or, ”how clumsy” until the end is reached and exhaustion .