“Rock Crystal” by Adalbert Stifter

Hello! It’s Saturday, and rather than give you a discussion post, I thought I’d review a story I recently had to read for school. (Disclaimer: I do not let this influence my enjoyment of a piece of fiction where I can.)

Cover image courtesy of Google Images

Title || “Bergkristall” or “Rock Crystal” (GoodReads)
Author || Adalbert Stifter
Published || Originally, in a collection titled Bunte Steine (Colorful Stones) in 1853
Form || Physical
Genre || Realism
Rating || 1/5
Yay || …It ended?
Nay || The style, the characters, the lack of plot…
Summary || Two children get lost on a mountain on Christmas Eve.

Note: I read this in German, but will be reviewing it in English. There is so little plot to this story that I will speak about the “events,” for lack of a better term, without concern for spoilers.


I hesitate to call a piece of fiction bad. I don’t want to say that this text is bad, but I will say that I was incredibly bored by it. I never fall asleep while reading–but this story had me nodding off.

The story revolves around two small children (I think they were 10 years old or younger). I don’t know whether it’s my standards that were the problem or that they’re younger than I think, but they were just two incredibly stupid children, surrounded by adults who weren’t very smart either.

However, my biggest problem with the story was probably that nothing really happens. (My instructor referred to this as the drama of the broken tea cup; I hope I never have to read such again, partially because there was no drama.) I found myself hoping that at least one of the children would die, because that might become interesting, but no such luck. My version was about 50 pages long, and I want to say about 30 pages of that were description. The rest were summary of events or pieces of generally useless or stupid dialogue.

If you enjoy long paragraphs of description of nature, in what I suppose another reader might call a poetic style, then you’ll be far more inclined to enjoy this book than I did. Someone who cares to analyze what little there is, and really think about how the characters discriminate against one another because of the small difference of physical distance and how a common goal can unite strangers, or how the religious elements play a role in this story, you may be more interested than I was.

Because, honestly, I was too focused caring about how badly I wanted the story to end to be anything but bored.

Recommend? Avoid
Recommended for? Visual readers, readers who enjoy realism

Have you read this story?
If you did, what did you think?
If you haven’t, are you thinking about it? Why or why not?