The Casualty

The Casualty

by Heinrich Boll
     
 

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“This evocation of the great German humanistic tradition is salutary amid so much pain and absurdity. And no writer is more qualified than Heinrich Böll to evoke that tradition.” —Washington Post
These stories by Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll, written between 1946 and 1952 but only published here in 1987, are stunning accounts of

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Overview

“This evocation of the great German humanistic tradition is salutary amid so much pain and absurdity. And no writer is more qualified than Heinrich Böll to evoke that tradition.” —Washington Post
These stories by Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll, written between 1946 and 1952 but only published here in 1987, are stunning accounts of German soldiers in a war they did not want and the bleak aftermath of Germany in ruins. In this early work, Böll’s style is already powerful and evocative, engaging in the moral drama that will come to fruition in such later works as Billiards at Half-Past Nine, The Clown, Group Portrait with Lady, and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum.

Editorial Reviews

Russell A. Berman
None of the 22 stories collected in ''The Casualty'' measure up to the best of Boll's early fiction. The young author seems not yet in full control of his material. Some texts, like the title story, wander and lose their impact, while others sound overstated and hollow. Yet precisely this lack of polish makes the collection interesting, shedding light on the emergence of the major voice in West German literature. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nobel Prizewinning author Boll (19171985) wrote these stories between 1940 and 1952, focusing on the miseries of the German soldier during World War II and the postwar plight of the ordinary citizen. An almost crazed sense of nightmare warps and heightens the realism of many of the collection's 22 tales. A man becomes fatefully obsessed with the lacy beauty of barbed wire in ``The Cage.'' A sentry pacing a French village in ``Vive la France'' feels endless time, dark and silence flowing tangibly around him before he shoots his hated drunken lieutenant. The ambitious title story weaves a dark, picaresque account of a 19-year-old soldier, jubilant because of a wound which helike his comradeshas purchased ``to order.'' The others are superficially disabled, but the young soldier carries a surrealistically deep, festering hole in his back. Countless trains carry him toward home through Hungary, where he drinks and riots in the local bars to keep the wound infected. These are rich, stunning tales told by a master. (April 28)
Library Journal
Death and dismemberment are the lasting images of this latest collection of Boll's short stories, all written between 1946 and 1952. Himself a veteran of the eastern front and the war's desperate aftermath, he draws on his experiences in creating these stories (some stark vignettes) of war's carnage and life's mayhem. ``Story,'' in fact, seems too light a label for these darkly brooding pieces. Soldiers rejoice when wounded, while in postwar Germany a young boy attempts suicide after losing his family's ration cards. Throughout this collection, life takes on meaning only as a commodity bartered for fair exchange: a loaf of bread, an acre of ground. Boll's powerful writing is once again masterfully translated by Leila Vennewitz. An important addition to The Stories of Heinrich Boll ( LJ 2/1/86). Paul E. Hutchison, English Dept., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393305999
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/17/1989
Series:
Norton Paperback Fiction Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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