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Events There is so much raw data being racked up that the reader has to listen for reverberations trailing in the distance to get any sense of the overall world at hand As mentioned there dozens of characters which means dozens of narrators dozens of threads they are called informants in the book witnesses nearly all so unreliable that truth seems laughable As may be appreciated these add up to a very palpable sense of the wartime realities of these people only detail and minima in the frame and et danger and moral collapse an epidemic all around The cruelty of wartime scam and black marketeering fantasias like the Siegfried Line forced labor for unknown beneficiaries the morbid fakery wherein wartime Memorial Wreaths are switched out post funeral to new clients as they enter the cemetery and billed for each appearance stolen papers false IDs mislabeled gravesites begin to exert the kind of grim wear tear on the reader that leads to insight B ll has written a grandly complex novel here something that touches along the lines of the cinema s Sorrow And The Pity and The Third Man But he s got little bits of insanity to include The flow chart of the book goes from the cited raw data approach the listings and dry analyses which begin to form the ground on which his agents will move characters who will work randomly against any set storyline toward human folly and delirium A centerpiece at this point is the miracle of the roses event which provides a kind of mystical comic relief after and because of which our author author in the book sees fit to passionately kiss a catholic nun His attentions are unexpectedly reuited without much ado and she is swept into the narrative At times B ll seems mad but he s after bigger game than just injecting an absurdist touch his book is at once a Great Big Unrelenting Shop Of Horrors but also a sly rendition of the fragility of human ties the lightning uick sting of reversed allegiances A difficult read but intriguing Nobel Prize for literature 1972I gather from what I ve read elsewhere that there are intricacies of Translation that may not show B ll s work to it s best effect an example that has been noted is that this translation gives the writer character s interjections the title of author whereas the German tilts toward editor That might be a very big shift in what transpires here or maybe not so much Regardless I m taking a one star rain check here the German text may plainly be well worth another star or if the tone has been so altered A couple of Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day: My Autobiography years ago I read the Lost Honour of Katharina Blum in which Boll through the experience of a German woman pulls apart the tabloid hunt for sensationalism with sharp wit and after reviewing it I received a recommendation to read this book which again uses the narrative device of a woman s life to reflect on the German experience both during world ward 2 and post war up to 1970 whilst again the author peppers his narrative with dark humourIn this story we do not meet Leni Pfieffer directly as her tale is narrated by a nameless Author who interviews anyone and everyone who has known Leni during the period thus our understanding of this enigmatic woman is fractured and we never really have her perspective Perhaps that in itself is reflective of the outsider s knowledge of Germany during theseears we all bring our assumptions and cod psychology to bear on a people traumatised by those events in that period and whose history is dominated by guilt of the horrors inflicted by a Germany ruled by extremists but who also suffered as individuals the book graphically re enacts the experience of the Carpet bombing of Cologne in 1944Leni is 16 in 1938 a beautiful blonde woman who has the world and men at her feet as she starts work in her father s business We then meet her lost love her short lived husband and view her other wartime life as told by her friends in laws work mates and other acuaintances as her experience of war is a mirror reflection of life itself in Germany at that "TIME THESE YEARS CULMINATE IN HER RELATIONSHIP WITH A "These ears culminate in her relationship with a prisoner of war and a passionate love affair in a church crypt as the bombs fall which result in her pregnancy The book also goes off on tangential threads as the author follows strings of plot including the Russian prisoners removal to an AmericanFrench labour camp with Leni searching for him on her bike and the author s search for the story of the nun who Leni befriends which leads the author to an amorous adventure in a Rome convent whilst an apparent miraculous blossoming of roses occurs The book only hints at events in the front line during the war and the treatment of minorities by referencing Some Soldiers Returning And soldiers returning and on new identities but Leni is freuently expressed as unconcernedblind to race and not anti Semitic Whilst therefore perhaps a skirting of the elephant in the room this is a book about the civilian so that did not trouble me as I reflected on the life of an ordinary GermanThe book moves on to Leni in the 1960 s when she is living in a house which she has gifted to her best friend Lotte s son Lotte is a stand out character The son his brother and father a brilliantly comic scene ensues when author interviews this triumvirate want to evict Leni her lodgers who refuse to pay rent and her Turkish loverThe book ends ambiguously with the reader still not really knowing who Leni is or what the news in the final few chapters presages for her and for Germany as we move into the 1970 s with economic expansion but also the threat of terrorism and emergence of new political extremes but I was not disappointed as I spent a few days reflecting on this story This is definitely a book to savour and probably one that I should reread I m sure Boll himself is well known to those widely read than I but I would certainly say that the wo books I have read are brilliant pieces of fiction which deserve a far wider audience What a marvelous marvelous book If Five fags a day you ve never read B ll at the height of his powersou ve a treat in store Humane funny rich poignant full of irony and love and compassion A great book not to put too fine a point on it. Rista Pelzer alla prostituta Margret Attraverso le testimonianze di uanti l'hanno freuentata attraverso foto lettere oggetti personali l'autore ricostruisce una biografia che è insieme immagine di un'epoca e di un ambien. O abbreviate things Referring to himself the author becomes simply Au A character named Klementina would suddenly just become K Tears are T weeping is W suffering is S laughterlaughing is L and beatitude or bliss is a mere B So Wicked Affairs p 2 you have to dog ear page 106 and go back to it wheneverou see a sentence like Leniis pale from P and S totally debilitated by W and T without even a suggestion of the rudiments of LIt s not even clear why the Au is so much interested with Leni On page 259 he said he is a researcher But why is he researching on Leni On page 365 he says his desire to conduct a research on Leni s life emanated from neither a terrestial nor a celestial authority it was EXISTENTIALHeinrich what the F do Jane of Gowlands you mean by that Construction and destruction of a narrative architecture shown in the process of building with the scaffold still raised to support the work thus hiding vital parts of the architecture behind it B ll is obsessed with building and destroying materials houses evidence characters His stories are made up of Tr mmerlandschaften those scary skeletons of German cities and their inhabitants during and after the Second World War witnesses of bombed out history B ll s protagonists wade through the rubbish heaps of their former identities to find bits and pieces that make sense that add to a cubist portrait of their self brownish grayis Apparently this is the novel that was singled out by the Nobel Prize committee when analysing B ll s work up to this point describing it as his most grandly conceived work of which I wouldn t argue From what I ve of read him thus far this is certainly the most challenging and broadest in scope as by tracing Leni Pfeiffer s life through half a century of German history he paints with such scrutinizing detail a portrait of a woman a city and a nation But I asked myself on completion did I prefer it to The Clown Billiards at Half Past Nine or And Never Said a Word and the conclusion is no Two main reasons why first certain parts of it dragged on too long for me it felt like walking up an escalator that was heading in the opposite direction And second he at times indulges in sort of sentimental whimsiness to my surprise and forces a too easy optimistic conclusion to his story If I push these issues aside though I still found much to like about it mostly down to the fact that B ll has seldom moved any distance from writing realistic narratives of his homeland He has shown less aptitude and interest in experimenting than many other writers who are left their mark on modern literature in Germany and elsewhereThough she rents out rooms Leni Pfeiffer 48 faces eviction from her apartment in Cologne She cannot keep her creditors away and as a war widow with her only son is in jail for forging checks to get her off the hook she cannot hold on without his income Her total indifference to profit and property are anomalous The building she is in doesn tield enough income her roomers are foreign laborers and despite the fact she has lived here all her life that she s known the landlord for thirty ears that his grandson was her son s godfather when he was christened the tail end of the war times are changing and loyalties shift Folk gossip Leni as a loose woman because she has taken up with one of her renters et she has had only four lovers in her nearly 50 ears including a love affair with a Russian prisoner and much of the novel tells this tale But with a difference To paint what he pretends is a purely factual portrait of Leni B ll himself appears in the book as The Au the Author working as a combination investigative reporter sociologist and detective In this guise he interviews the sixty characters who know or have known Leni at various points in her life and what emerges from this wry pseudo documentary is also a social portrait of Cologne from the 1920 s to his present a Joycean style evocation of a city and its assorted people B ll gathers his material to exhibit that even in Germany life goes on under the surface and the lies of history despite the concussive power of ideologies and individual rapacity By taking a biographical route he dramatizes the impossibility of generalizing about people and makes us feel the vast gaps that exist between political slogans and moral actualities between those who slyly ride with the times and those like Leni who could possibly lose their wealth their family and social position B ll s decision to put a woman at the heart of Group Portrait with Lady could be seen as a direct expression of his strong erotic and moral affection for women which could be the result of a previously blocked energy due to the anger he so often feels toward German men and masculine society in general In a way compared to his earlier novels Group Portrait with Lady can be seen as his anti novel and the I think about it the it closely resembles a researched report It s an impressive work for sure and maybe his best achievement but that doesn t mean it s my favourite Spoilers hereThis must sure and maybe his best achievement but that doesn t mean it s my favourite Spoilers hereThis must called Experimental Fiction conflicted and preoccupied as it is with euivalent ways of telling the story Let s start againFor some reason author B ll hits on the idea that mindless categorizing cross filing a relentless focus on hierarchies and designations an accountant s myopia of receipts and stubs well no there is some method to all that Once againA book so willingly obtuse bloodyminded and so obsessively nitpicking that no once There are somewhere near 125 persons who come into play in Heinrich B ll s experimental novel Group Portrait With Lady Sixty one of them are outlined in the helpful List Of Characters in the front of the book By surreptitiously refocusing or maybe zooming out from his central character the lady B ll manages to render the collective insanity of Germany in the war ears and thereafter or maybe it is the madness of a century that produces this Germany By overdoing the scrutiny on the minima of the era the author is able to slowly reveal the wider impact Somehow the war and horror is felt than told when detail is so foreground that the reader must read into the subtext for the headline. Germania contemporanea l'autore veste i panni del cronista mettendosi sulle tracce di tutti colori che l'hanno conosciuta dal fratello poeta che si distrugge per sottrarsi all'abiezione del nazismo a suor Rahel dall'affa. 359 Gruppenbild mit Dame Group Portrait With Lady Heinrich B llGroup Portrait with Lady German Gruppenbild mit Dame is a novel by Nobel Prize winning author Heinrich B ll published in 1971 The novel centers around a woman named Leni and her friends foes lovers employers and others and in the end tells the stories of all these people in a small city in western Germany in the 1930s and 1940s 1984 20 1362 448 1377 557 9644160991 1383 557 1384 1388 9789643290788 1392 1972 It is often the mark of a truly great book that style is at least as important as other aspects such a story line or character definition I have found this literary uality to be true in masterpieces by James Joyce Proust Faulkner Gaddis Gass Virginia Woolf and many other genius literary novelists In fact telling a tale in a new literary style distinguishes a good writer from a great one in my book So much so that I tend to discount straight ahead narrative styles as mundane and seek out novelists engaged in stylistic innovation Heinrich Boll is a novelist who wants to narrate in a new way He is focused upon German society during and after World War II when that nation was obliterated by Russian American British and French allies Boll s story is presented as a portrait of a lady Leni Pfeiffer against the backdrop of a group her friends family colleagues religious advisers and lovers The Author Au presents this portrait in such a way that we see the protagonist with incredibly precise brush strokes from the point of view of the Author making a bureaucratic inuiry of Leni and through his research we come to know her by way of what others tell him about her In this sense we also come to know the Group based upon their perspectives in their narrations about the lady Leni may well be one of the finest character studies of the 20th century because of the narrative style driving the story line The story itself primarily has to do with members of German society high and low as they cope with the advance of American and Russian troops toward the close of World War II inside Germany This time period was so intense that its impact became telling in the way it defined the characters by their wit intelligenceresourcefulness and integrity under pressure Boll introduces a cast at the outset as if the novel were a dramatic production To gain the most from Prey your reading I would adviseou to spend a few minutes understanding the players at the start and then refer back to them a few times as Addicted to Womanhood Book One you move forward There are two Heinrich s for example in the cast and the Au likes to abbreviate the players so that they sometimes may seem unclear as references in the narration The author seems determined thatou ll know his characters so well that ou ll follow them even when he refers only to their initials William Gaddis took a similar approach when in JR he declined to define any of the speakers in his National Book Award Winning Novel Boll manages to create a 3D person from the 2D pages of his book in his narrative techniue and is able to drive a story line through his use of actual events in "WWII in Germany The view from inside Germany during its capitulation is intriguing as told by Boll who fought in and "in Germany The view from inside Germany during its capitulation is intriguing as told by Boll who fought in and through the war The intensity of human experience tends to ramp up exponentially of course when an Au has witnessed first hand what Boll actually saw inside Germany during WWII At first I was a bit taken aback by the literary style and translation but with a modicum of patience it drove me into interiors of consciousness of the group and the lady in an uncommonly penetrating narrative Of course Boll became a Nobel Prize Winner and leading light within PEN International in large part because of the densely rich and enlightening narrative style of this novel If ou like literary novels then odds are ou will love this one I would consider it a masterpiece by virtue of its invention in literary style The titular character Leni is seen via the point of view of a number character Leni is seen via the point of view of a number characters heartless harlot timorous and timid empty headed and sensitive and open to art the depiction of Leni is a testament to the many different and often contradictory ways by which other see us Boll employs a number of different styles often dependent on the narrator often these act as pastiches and parodies whether it is the lazy and jocular cliches of journalese or the highfalutin style of post modernism Boll explores and utilises these various styles to depict the lives of the characters Leni interacts with Beneath all of this lies the Nazi regime in which most of the the novel takes place and the sense of madness and paranoia it engenders Indeed the vast almost innumerable number of characters can be slightly discombobulating for the reader who is left dizzy by Boll s ever changing jittery and frenetic style an interesting and original if not always entirely successful form of literary experimentation Group Portrait With Lady is perhaps of an intellectual than emotional success A wonderful work of art At the center of this novel is a 48 ear old German lady Leni Gruyten Pfeiffer The narrator is the author but he refers to himself in the third person There are so many other characters however that before the story starts the author has a 2 12 page List of Characters which the reader would every now and then refer back to as a guideThe author s apparent aim is to know who Leni is He narrates of the countless interviews he made upon all these other characters and even other minor characters not in the initial list who at times would give contradictory impressions not only about Leni "BUT HER IMMEDIATE FAMILY CO WORKERS HUSBAND IN LAWS "her immediate family co workers husband in laws and friends Sometimes a curious incident told by one character would somehow be explained by the narration of another characterThe tone of the author s narration is somber and scholarly The setting is wartime Germany second world war But the reader is saved from complete boredom because of the deadpan humor permeating the first to the last page of this novel It even has a happy endingThe thing which pisses me off here however is not only those many characters but also the author s propensity Uesto romanzo di Boll offre uno spaccato di cinuant'anni di vita tedesca dall'età guglielmina al secondo dopoguerra Nella sua indagine su Leni donna sensuale e di carattere che attraversa gli eventi più drammatici della.

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Gruppenbild mit Dame