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Synopsis

Leaving the home of his foster mother to begin his working life, young Victor stops to visit his uncle, who long ago sealed himself away from the world, on a island in a lake, high in the Austrian alps. The old man, who has never known love, lives barricaded in a former monastery, surrounded by an atmosphere of death and decay. Portraying the friction between these two characters with keen psychological insight, Stifter's masterful bildungsroman explores conflicting attitudes to life and their existential effects: stillness and movement, light and dark, openness and withdrawal.

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