Billiards at Half-Past Nine

Billiards at Half-Past Nine

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by Heinrich Boll
     
 

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Boll's well-known, vehement opposition to fascism and war informs this moving story of Robert Faehmel. After being drawn into the Second World War to command retreating German forces despite his anti-Nazi feelings, Faehmel struggles to re-establish a normal life at war's end. He adheres to a rigorous schedule, including a daily game of billiards. When his routine… See more details below

Overview

Boll's well-known, vehement opposition to fascism and war informs this moving story of Robert Faehmel. After being drawn into the Second World War to command retreating German forces despite his anti-Nazi feelings, Faehmel struggles to re-establish a normal life at war's end. He adheres to a rigorous schedule, including a daily game of billiards. When his routine is breached by an old friend, now a power in German reconstruction, Faehmel is forced to confront both public and private memories.

Editorial Reviews

Saturday Review
Heinrich Böll has no peer as a storyteller.
New York Times Book Review
His mocking humor is consistently directed against militarism and totalitarianism.
Christian Science Monitor
Bö tells his story with unobtrusive skill, catching the reader's attention with intriguing hints, never to let it go, and excelling in giving profile and authenticity even to the smallest figure.
From the Publisher
THE ESSENTIAL HEINRICH BÖLL

"Daringly and hypnotically written... an extended soliloquy on memory, recrimination and tenuous hope."
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"Böll is an expert marksman: the arrows are sharp, the feathers smooth, the targets numerous."
The New York Times

"His work reaches the highest level of creative originality and stylistic perfection."
The Daily Telegraph

"The renewal of German literature, to which Heinrich Böll's achievements witness, and of which they are a significant part, is not an experiment with form. Instead it is a rebirth out of annihilation, a resurrection, a culture which, ravaged by icy nights and condemned to extinction, sends up new shoots, blossoms, and matures to the joy and benefit of us all."
—The Nobel Prize Committee

“The claim that Böll is the true successor to Thomas Mann can be defended by his novel Billiards at Half-Past Nine.”
—The Scotsman

“A work in the best tradition of the German novel, taking up the thread broken by the Third Reich, the thread spun by Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Fallada’s Little Man, What Now?”
—Christian Science Monitor

“A man of deep feeling and intelligence, speaking in a strongly contemporary voice, [Böll] recorded in his early stories the way it felt to come home to a destroyed country. The tone was neither angry, ironic nor surreal. On the contrary, these stories gave us the slow-moving thoughtfulness of a narrator in pain, walking about on a lunar landscape, knowing he must make sense of things more quickly than he is able to do.”
—Vivian Gornick, The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380002801
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/1976

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