Book Review: Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

German Literature MonthNovember is German Literature Month, organised by Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy’s Literary Life. I’m participating with a book that I won from Lizzy in a giveaway last month. I really enjoyed this book!

Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

Rating: 4/5
Number of pages: 282
First published: 2006 (German edition: Gut gegen Nordwind, this English translation 2011)
Genre: contemporary fiction
I got this book: from a giveaway by Lizzy via Beauty is a Sleeping Cat as part of the German Literature Month

Because November is German Literature MonthBeauty is a Sleeping Cat organised a giveaway of German books translated to English, back in October. I entered and won Love Virtually. And I liked the sight of it so much, that I read it almost straight away, well in time for German Lit Month.

Love Virtually: What it is about

From the publishers: “It begins by chance: Leo receives emails in error from an unknown woman called Emmi. Being polite he replies, and Emmi writes back. A few brief exchanges are all it takes to spark a mutual interest in each other, and soon Emmi and Leo are sharing their innermost secrets and longings. The erotic tension simmers, and it seems only a matter of time before they will meet in person. But they keep putting off the moment – the prospect both unsettles and excites them. And, after all, Emmi is happily married. Will their feelings for each other survive the test of a real-life encounter?”

Love Virtually: What I thought

This book was told entirely through emails. I loved that. Whenever something happened in “real” life, the reader had to wait for the emails on the next day, to find out what exactly happened the night or day(s) before.

I thought the format worked really well and the way Leo and Emmi used email seemed very realistic. Only at times, it was maybe too realistic and became a little boring. Leo and Emmi started off very casual but their online relationship soon deepens. They don’t know much about each other at all but they become addicted to receiving each other’s emails.

I loved especially the emails after Leo and Emmi had not met up in the beginning of the book. Later, I found that the story dragged on a bit. The ending was surprising and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Extra: As a Psycholinguist I was surprised to see that Leo was a Language Psychology professor (a term I haven’t heard of) who was also described as a Psychology of Language professor (yes, that is a term I know, it’s the same as Psycholinguistics) and a Psychology of Linguistics (what???) professor (I blame the translation). He researches BOTH linguistic behavior in emails AND emotion? That are two completely different areas of Psychology and I’m not sure if they even fall under Psychology of Language! 🙂

Extra: I read this book for the German Literature Month.

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

33 Responses to Book Review: Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer

  1. Tony says:

    Not sure about this one – the e-mail novel is the new version of the epistolatory book (one written in letters), and I’m not really keen on those 😉

    • Leeswammes says:

      Tony, I don’t like novels-in-letters either. The email novel isn’t quite the same, because the emails can be (and often are) very short. Also, they are not as formal as a letter. So, in *Love Virtually*, some emails are long, whereas others are just one-liners or at least very brief. It worked fine for me.

  2. Tony says:

    Epistolary, even 😉

    • Leeswammes says:

      I didn’t even notice, Tony. It’s one of those words with a uniqueness point near the beginning (yes, that’s psycholinguistics talking). So, after reading episto… there aren’t really many words (one? two?) that could be written there, so you don’t need to bother reading the rest (I obviously didn’t). A famous example is crocoxxxx – there is only one word that this could be (even without the xs, after croco………. there is just the one word). 🙂

      A short lesson in psycholingxxxxxxx. 🙂

  3. Charlie says:

    I have to admit I think the email format would put me off too, like Tony, otherwise it’s an appealing book. Then again that’s because of the tendency for email sections in books to be often written without much detail, I suppose a whole book would be different. Weird the the translation is so varied.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I can’t predict whether you’d like this, Charlie.Not sure what you mean with detail – less precise? More loosely written? I think that wasn’t so much the case here. Of course it’s a novel so literary quality was not compromised.

  4. I haven’t read this book, but Radio 4 had it as an afternoon play back in March, with David Tennant playing Leo. It worked really well on the Radio, but because I’ve heard it now, I almost don’t want to read it and spoil that experience – if you understand what I mean?

  5. I wasn’t a big fan of this one. It was slightly entertaining in places, but didn’t engage me as much as it should have done. Only an average read for me.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Where was the editor? 🙂 They should have ensured the right terms were used for Leo’s career.
    Like other commenters I think the e-mail format would put me off a bit.

  7. Caroline says:

    I love epistolary novesl but thought this was an interesting variation. I’m glad you liked it. I read it so quickly it didn’t get a chance to become boring. 🙂
    I liked the ending so much, I was disappointed to see he wrote a sequel. I read anyway and did like it but a bit less than this one.
    I studied psycholinguistics as well btw and I’m pretty sure if I had read anything like that in the German book I would have noticed. The translator messed that up big time.

  8. Jenifer S. says:

    I haven’t read an epistolary novel in emails yet. I’m intrigued!

  9. Isi says:

    This book is very famous here in Spain, but I still haven’t read it! The title is absolutely different.
    I like the activity about one month dedicated to authors from a certain country. I’ve read two novels by Davied Safier, also German, and I loved them: they are a great humour books! It has no relation with Glattauer, but I remembered them talking about German novelists 🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Isi, how nice to hear it’s well known in Spain. I haven’t seen it here in the Netherlands, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a Dutch translation. I haven’t heard of Safier, I’ll have a look at his books, thanks!

      • Isi says:

        I can’t believe you don’t know David Safier there in Holland. I mean: Holland is closer to Germany than Spain. Well, this author is very funny; his stories are a little bit crazy and very original: a woman who dies and is reincarnated as an ant; a woman who meets Jesus, because Jesus is on Earth again, a woman who is hypnotized and she has to share her soul with Shakespeare (two persons in one body, I mean)…
        Well, I recommend his books, as you see!!

      • Leeswammes says:

        Sounds really funny, Isi. I checked out the online book retailer here, and only one of his books has been translated into Dutch. It’s called (in English) Bad Karma. Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. I love books told through letters, so this really appeals to me. Perhaps I should give it a go… 🙂

  11. Pingback: German Literature Month – Week II Links « Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

  12. Tesney Ap says:

    It sounds like a fun read 🙂 The book cover is so cute, too 🙂

  13. Isi says:

    Yes, Bad karma is the first. It’s the same translation in Spanish (I didn’t want to tell you titles, because they can be absolutely different: for “Love virtually”, we have “Against the north wind”, so it doesn’t look the same book!)

    • Leeswammes says:

      Isi, the Spanish title is the same as in German. *Love Virtually* is very different indeed, but I do like that title, I think it would attract me to the book more than Against the North Wind.

  14. Marie says:

    This sounds pretty good. I was interested in taking part in German literature month but I wouldn’t have the faintest idea where to start, my knowledge of German novels is non-existent! The idea of a story told through e-mails does kind of put me off a little, but I can imagine it being something I would pick up as an easy read, on holiday for example.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Marie, in the German literature month, they do give some ideas on what you could read, that’s part of the fun. I won this book and have too much to read, so I can’t participate fully.

  15. saramsades says:

    ziet er een intersant boek uit.

    leest het gemakkelijk ?

    • Leeswammes says:

      Saramsades, jahoor, het is niet moeilijk geschreven, maar is wel iets literairder dan ik verwachtte. Email is nogal informeel dus ik dacht dat het echt heel losjes geschreven zou zijn.

  16. Leslie says:

    Awww, now I want to read this. And, you know, I already have too many books in my to-read pile!

  17. Pingback: German Literature Month 2012: Author Index « Lizzy’s Literary Life

  18. Pingback: Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer | Iris on Books

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