Subscribe: Comments on: The Silent Angel – Heinrich Böll
Preview: Comments on: The Silent Angel – Heinrich Böll

Comments on: The Silent Angel – Heinrich Böll

Celebrating the pleasures of a 21st century bookworm

Last Build Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 20:24:19 +0000


By: German Literature Month 2011: Author Index « Lizzy’s Literary Life

Thu, 01 Dec 2011 05:03:25 +0000

[...] (And Didn’t Say A Word/The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum / The Silent Angel (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)) Brecht (The Threepenny Opera) Bronsky (The Hottest Dishes of The Tartar Cuisine (1) (2)) [...]

By: Fay

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 15:50:07 +0000

Just to offer a different point of view, this was my first Böll novel and I loved it. What was missing did not occur to me during the read; the clarity of the vision captured my attention. I was with him all the way.

By: lizzysiddal

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 13:46:31 +0000

Caroline What I'm trying to suggest in my review is that the author himself knew it to be substandard and, therefore, chose to rework it in a later novel. The fault, it is lies anywhere, is with the publishers for cashing in on a big name after his death.

By: Rise

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 13:16:41 +0000

I can see an aspect of the lack of depth in the characters, initially. I did compare them to zombies -- too caught up in their hunger. The war robbed them of the will to live. But toward the end though there's a sort of transformation in them and their perception of the world. They're slowly waking up from passivity and becoming more responsive to one another, enough to contemplate marriage and carry on.

By: Caroline

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 12:53:26 +0000

Ok, yes but he wasn't a first time writer, the flaws in this novel cannot be excused and they are even for someone like me who loves Böll striking flaws. As I just commented on Christina's post, it would have needed some serious reworking.

By: lizzysiddal

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 12:44:07 +0000

I was at one time a Böll completist. I remember answering on him in my finals but for some reason, he's not an author I've revisited much, even though I enjoyed reading him then. I did reread the 5-star Katharina Blum a couple of years ago and I suspect that that one day I will own some (if not all) of those magnificent Melville House press volumes I do intend treating myself to their Collected Stories of Heinrich Böll which is due to be published next week ....

By: lizzysiddal

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 12:34:28 +0000

Isn't the Train Was On Time much shorter and, therefore, a novella?

By: Caroline

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 11:46:22 +0000

While I would rate it much higher, I did, if you read my post, muse at the end whether it was well written as a novel, as it does indeed read like short stories and sketches. I think the psychology of frontline soldiers is hard to understand for us but Böll served and was imprisoned too, whether or not a sacrifice is possible, he would know... I think it is. The love story was surprising but believable for me. Und sagte kein einziges Wort is a far better novel, that's for sure still, because the individual parts are outstanding for me, I like The Silent Angel a lot. The excuse of the first novel doesn't count, btw as The Train Was On Time was written earlier.

By: Tony

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 11:33:58 +0000

Not a big fan then? :) I agree that this is very much an incomplete novel, and that it is more for Böll completists - like me (eight and counting!). However, I think that the parts are much greater than the whole here, particularly the sketches of Hans in his search for food. The scene at the end with the will though - definitely very strange and badly thought out...