Three Women in a Mirror
by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, translated by Alison Anderson
Available from Europa Editions
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, author of the collection of short stories The Most Beautiful Book in the World, tells the stories of three women searching for ways to express their uniqueness and to wrest free of the expectations and limitations imposed by their respective eras.
Anna, Hanna and Anny: three young women, free spirits all, each one at odds with the age in which they live. Despite the centuries that divide them, their stories intersect – a surprising narrative technique that lends increasing tension and richness to this novel, which builds to a crescendo of unexpected revelations.
Anne lives in Flanders in the sixteenth century. She’s a mystic who talks with animals like St Francis of isi; she finds in God in nature and cannot understand the need for religious rituals. Yet her ideas run against the temper of the times. It is the age of the Counterreformation and the Inquisition. Her serenity and the loose tongues of those who secretly envy her result in her being branded a heretic. Hanna lives in Vienna at the start of the twentieth century. She is a young noblewoman, dissatisfied with bourgeois conventions, who undertakes a journey of self-discovery. After much sadness she will find a method for uncovering the roots of her malaise in a new cure developed by a Viennese doctor by the name of Sigmund Freud. Anny is a Hollywood star of the new millennium. Addicted to celebrity and to a variety of illicit substances, she is searching for meaning in a world where the only thing of apparent value is money. Acting, her comfort and her curse, will give her the key to open a new chapter in her life, where she will find love, companionship, and the meaning she has been searching for.
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, playwright, novelist, and author of short stories, was awarded the French Academy's Grand Prix du Théâtre in 2001. His many novels and short story collections include The Most Beautiful Book in the World (Europa Editions, 2009).