The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is Rilke’s only novel. He wrote it while living in Paris as a young writer. It contains autobiographical content and was inspired in part by the expressionistic movement.
From Book One
My God, if any of it could be shared! But would it be then, would it be? No, it is only at the price of solitude.
This is an expression of one of Rilke’s recurring themes, an idea that preoccupied him, that we are truly alone. That all of our innermost perceptions—the beauty we see in the world, the diaphanous rays of the morning sun through a casement window, light crystals flashing on ocean waters, the breeze on our faces, almost wet with renewal—that how we perceive these things, how they make us feel, that only we alone can feel them that way, and because of that, we are utterly alone with the world and with our God. We may try to write them down, or paint them on a canvas. But it is just a futile attempt, a desperate attempt, to hide ourselves from this awful, unalterable truth.