In The smallest woman all the characters are real, also their situations; The photos that Franz left in the hospital the day that, despite himself, accepted the true nature of Elsene, prove it.
He returned years later. I offered him his photos, I still kept them. On some occasions, longing for the time I spent with him, I looked at them slowly and carefully. Franz rejected them with a slight smile, away from the pain they once assumed. Then he handed me a sealed envelope where, handwritten, featured the title of this book. «I would like you to read it», was all he said about this matter. I’ve never seen him again.
After reading his text, I thought I guessed the context in which each of his photographs had been taken. It was I who allowed the freedom of titleholders.
If you decide to read his story, you may wonder who the smallest woman is, because we are many and very different who have gone through Franz’s life during these years. I will avoid the tedium of writing down their names: Elsene, Juanita, Gundi, Carola, Pandora – yes, she too – Marie Giesler, his own mother or Monique, which is me.