the ledge files
the ledge - nl - uk
Michael Kumpfmüller
publisher: , 2003

translated as:
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam,

refered to by:
The Deeps of Deliverance
Frederik van Eeden

full text search:

the ledge - flash version*


Conny is in her twenties. She lives in a grey apartment block in a small, unnamed German town. She has two little boys, aged two and four, whom she looks after, and one five-year-old girl, of whom her parents take care. She hates her life and even fantasizes about killing her sons. Instead she slips away for a few hours here and there, and spends the night with a man, then comes home, torn between love, guilt and repulsion - with repulsion always winning out. Finally she decides to leave - not forever, but just for a few days. She locks the children in their room with a little food and drink, hoping that her mother will perhaps come to their rescue.

The book describes her melancholy, wandering days, living with her lover, a motor mechanic who makes her pose for pornographic pictures. She talks about sex,
takes drugs and gradually loses her sense of time. Sometimes she thinks of her children and wants to go and see how they are. But on the one occasion she does so, she can't find the key and turns back. She has a row with her lover, leaves abruptly, and goes home. But by the time she returns to her flat, she finds both boys lying in their room, their faces blue. They have been dead for days.

Beneath these horrific events is a story about power and the importance of language. Conny despises her children because they 'can't understand a thing', but Conny doesn't understand the world herself. She is trapped in her life, unable to break free. Kumpfmüller approaches his difficult subject matter with delicacy and poise. This is a profound and perceptive account of the slow and terrible descent into madness.


A single, young mother leaves her house on a summer day, after first locking both her children in their bedroom.
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Code (above)

The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn

Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.