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Billiards at Half-Past Nine

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    A Post World War Disaster

    “Billiards at Half-Past Nine” written by Heinrich Böll is a story about 3 generations of the Faehmel family after two world wars, Richard, Robert, and Joseph. They are a family of architects who are focused on the work on St. Anthony Abbey. Richard (the father of Robert) was the first to build St. Anthony Abbey before WWI. Robert (father of Joseph) was also in the family’s architect business but “destroyed more than he built”. Following war commands, Robert destroyed St. Anthony Abbey. Joseph, disgusted by his father’s destruction of St. Anthony Abbey, rebuilt it in 1958. Robert also, trying to find some order in his life, had a very precise schedule which included going to the billiards everyday from 9:30-11; which is where the title originated from. I did not enjoy this book. I found it to be a jumbled and confusing mess. Each chapter shifted in narration, not just between the Faehmel family but also their friends and collegues. It was never clear as to who was narrating, and if I thought I knew who was talking, something would come up half way through the chapter that shifted the narration again. I think it was a good story line. If the author made the narration less complex, it would have been enjoyable and more understandable. Biblical allusions were strongly used in this book. “Feed my Lambs”, “Lamb of God”, and “Host of the Beast” are all references to the Bible that are used repeatedly throughout this text. The gentle, kind characters were referred to as “The Lamb of God”. “Host of the Beast” referred to the Nazis and Hitler, who work through Satan. I would not recommend this book. Again, I found it confusing and very hard to follow. It focused on post war Germany and the Faehmel family but made it very unclear as to who was narrating and if we were in a flashback or the post war time. I wanted to stop reading this book half way through, but kept reading in hopes of making sense in the end. Sadly, that never happened. I gave this book 2 stars because the story line had potential but the way it was written made it a confusing mess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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