The Originals: Heidi - Om Books

Let’s enjoy the beautiful things we can see, my dear, and not think about those we cannot. A book “for children and those who love children”, Heidi (1881) is a story of an orphan girl who is sent to live with her grumpy grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The embittered grandfather who lives in seclusion, is known as ‘Uncle Alp’, and deeply resents Heidi’s arrival. But soon, he grows fond of her. Lost in the idyllic world of snow-covered mountains, Heidi befriends Peter, the goatherd, his mother, Bridget, and his blind maternal grandmother. While all seems well in Heidi’s wonderland, she is soon compelled to leave the comforts of the hills and go to Frankfurt to live with a differently-abled girl named Clara. Overcoming the initial difficulties, Heidi and Clara become friends. Amidst the grey streets of a new city, Heidi struggles to overcome her homesickness. If only she could return to the mountains. Will she ever meet her grandfather again? Written well over a century ago, Johanna Spyri’s evergreen tale of a young girl’s coming of age, of her bravery and compassion, remains a classic.

Born on 12 June 1827, Johanna Heusser was raised in Hirzel, a small village in Zurich, Switzerland. Her mother Meta Heusser-Schweizer wrote religious poetry and hymns, and agreed to have her works published on the condition that her identity wouldn’t be disclosed. In 1875, a selection of Alpine Lyrics by her was translated into English.

At 16, Johanna was sent to a residential school in Yverdon, western Switzerland. Later, she studied Modern Languages and Piano in Zurich.
In 1852, Johanna married a lawyer and journalist named Johann Bernhard Spyri. Her husband being a workaholic, their marriage suffered and gradually, Johanna sunk into depression. In 1884, tragedy struck when she lost her son, Bernhard—who was only 28—and her husband.
Encouraged by a family friend, Johanna began to write to overcome depression and published her first story ‘Ein Blatt auf Vronys Grab’ (A Leaf From Vrony’s Grave) in 1871. The success of her very first story fuelled her passion for writing, that she pursued diligently. Between 1871 and 1901, Johanna published 27 books and several volumes of stories for children and adults.
As a writer, she was concerned about the upbringing of children in 19th-century Europe. Instead of treating them as ‘imperfect’ adults, she wanted to present a child’s world as very different from an adult’s.
Heidi (1881), a novel that she wrote in four weeks, reflects the writer’s psychological insight into a child’s mind. A world classic, which has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, Heidi has been translated from German into 50 languages. Johanna Spyri died in Zurich on 7 July 1901.

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Author: Johanna Spyri
Publisher: Om Books International
X-ISBN: 9789352766475