Marlen Haushofer


Marlen Haushofer was born on April 11, 1920 in Frauenstein, a region in Upper Austria. She attended Catholic boarding school in Linz, and studied German literature in Vienna and Graz. Her adult life was spent in Steyr, an old industrial city with a strong working class culture and a history of militancy. She died in 1970.

Haushofer published the novella “The Fifth Year” in 1952 and earned her first literary award in 1953. Her first novel, A Handful of Life, was published in 1955. The Wall, published in 1962, is considered her greatest literary achievement. Variously interpreted as an ironic Robinson Crusoe story, a philosophical parable of human isolation, and as dystopian fiction, The Wall is currently recognized for its important place in traditions of feminist fiction. Haushofers’s last novel, The Attic, was published in 1969. Her last short story collection, Terrible Faithfulness, brought her the Austrian state prize for literature. She has been translated into several European languages. The Wall is Haushofer’s only work available in English.

The Wall

"Chilling, fantastic, and deeply disturbing, The Wall is a modern classic."
She Magazine

"The novel and the film based upon Haushofer’s masterwork gets at something of the human condition that no other work of fiction does—the truth of yourself when you are the last remaining member of the human race."
—Julian Roman Pölsler

"I am almost haunted by this book. The main character echoes through my head with her strength through adversity."
—Kissin' Blue Karen