August 13, by Ben. How German Is It Penguin Modern Classics, pp. Literary trickster, Walter Abish, was a late bloomer.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The question How German Is It underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish's novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany, in which the tradition of order and obedience, the patrimony of the saber and the castle on the Rhine, give way to the present, indiscriminate fascination with all things American.
On his return from Paris to his home city of W The question How German Is It underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish's novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany, in which the tradition of order and obedience, the patrimony of the saber and the castle on the Rhine, give way to the present, indiscriminate fascination with all things American.
Through Ulrich--privileged, upper class--we confront the incongruities of the new democratic Germany, in particular the flourishing community of Brumholdstein, named after the country's greatest thinker, Brumhold, and built on the former site of a concentration camp.
Paula's participation in the destruction of a police station; the State's cynical response to crush the terrorists; two attempts on Ulrich's life; the discovery in Brumholdstein of a mass grave of death camp inmates--all these, with subtle irony, are presented as pieces of a puzzle spelling out the turmoil of a society's endeavor to avoid the implications of its menacing heritage. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published November 17th by New Directions first published More Details Original Title.
Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about How German Is It , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 03, Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing. And then, having established these standards, it sets up other standards of comparison, which serve, if nothing else, to confirm in the minds of most people that a great many things are less than perfect.
Fornication and adultery are the best entertainment. A warehouse, so to speak, of history. History did never happen. The only evidence of life on the passing trains was an occasional scarecrow face framed in the tiny cutout window of a freight car.
View 2 comments. Apr 17, S. Shelves: 5-stars , recommended-novels , german-ic-y , read-in I guess that the limited audience for such a book equals limited air time. But I ate it up. I am the target audience! The weight of the past, the haunting and shame and guilt. The book has a lot of punch. I was worried the end would fizzle out stupidly but it did not.
It was surprising and strong. Basically the theme is on p. When a collapsed sewer reveals a mass burial site folks are particular about doing the right thing. Ach, if only! For all its seriousness the book is also very funny. I laughed through all the talk about the weather, and the German words used to describe it. In comparison to her, Gisela was by far more agile, more inventive.
Erika, he called from the window. Erika, stop it immediately. And when he thought about it later, he concluded that it was true. He did feel more at home, but that did not mean that he liked it. A house that after the war was gradually emptied of its contents, its furniture, its paintings, its silverware, its carpets, anything that was of value.
People from all over came to see what we had to sell. View 1 comment. One of the best experimental-procedural novels, full stop.
All the more amazing for Abish having never been to Germany yet so as to not color his titular question one way or another. Vie Deutsch Ist Es? There will be a quiz. Bring your Blue Books. Aug 18, Maia rated it really liked it. Well, from the book's POV plus my own epxerience after 3 years as a foreigner in Germany I'd say thay 'it' is very, very German indeed.
And probably the irony and the power of the very essence of Germanness is that it can be both a fascinating and a terrifying thing. Consider what I experienced about 2 months ago. I need to apply for a drivers' license because there is no recirpocity between Germany and my home US state, despite the fact that I have been driving for 25 years. I can take the written test in English but I also need to attend a compulsory First Aid class--which is only given in German!
So in effect, through the law allows me to take the written driving test in my own language even if I know no German at all, the law also demands that I spend an entire day listening to First Aid info in German, even when the law knows and accepts that I don't understand German! Typical Teutonian comtradiction. So I went to the First Aid class hours straight in a tiny room with about 30 other people, mostly teens.
Eight hours with only two 15 minutes breaks. The 'teacher' was this tall, slim, incredibly attractive--in a German sort of way--twentysomething guy whose intensity was both fascinati and grotesque. The guy gave his all to this First Aid stuff as if his life depended on it--which maybe it did since Germans have to do everything with intensity, no matter how banal. We got thousands of slides and so much information you'd think we were being trained as Medics!
A d every ten mins he'd break off with exercises. So, during one of these, which I could only half follow with my very weak German, I was supposed to show how I'd lW down a fainting person on the ground. I did so, and he stopped me because, he said in English, I'd forgotten to first tell 'someone' who?
I told him, im English, that I'd missed that part--due to my weak German. So one of the kids in the class offered to be the one I sent off to call the ambulance and assured me, 'you always have to tell someone to call the ambulance.
What if I don't have someone send off for the ambulance? Do i then leave the fainting person there and do it myself, or do I take care of the fainting person first? Clearly, no one had thought of that! It just wasn't in the script, you see. And I replied,'Really? How could you know? They have this obsessive, compulsive, at times all-consuming need go control everything. It stems from theif infamous ANGST-- an all-pervasivd anguish and anxiety for and about life, of what cannot be controlled in life.
In German, 'angst' actually means fear but, like with many other German words, it's travelled to all other languages. Anyway--from 'how German is it.? It took me much longer than expected to finish this book. Not because it was dull or even particularly slow-moving. It was more due to the lifestyles of the characters and the meandering nature of the narrative.
The plot focuses on the two sons of Ulrich von Hargenau, an anti-Nazi activist executed for his role in the plot to assassinate Hitler. Helmuth is a prosperous architect and Ulric It took me much longer than expected to finish this book. Helmuth is a prosperous architect and Ulrich is a writer of popular autobiographical fiction.
How German Is It?
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How German Is It
It is most often classified as a postmodern work of fiction. The novel revolves around the Hargenau brothers, Ulrich and Helmut, and their lives in and around the fictional German town of Wurtenburg. The Hargenaus were once a noble and revered family. Now the two remaining brothers, the writer Ulrich and the architect Helmut in suhrkamp Helmuth , must reconcile their private pasts with that of their history as a whole. They are getting spied upon, bombs go off in buildings designed by Helmut, and through all this, the reality of what really went on during World War II is slowly uncovered. The book's narrative structure features internal monologues and different authorial viewpoints by many of the characters.
How German Is It (Wie Deutsch ist es)
His first novel, Duel Site , did not appear until Abish was turning forty. His second novel, Alphabetical Africa , cemented his reputation. Each chapter of that book played pseudo-alliterative rules: the first chapter began with each word beginning with the letter a, the second would add the letter b, the third c and so on, until chapter 27 when a letter was taken away until chapter A brief flurry of publishing through the s was followed with relative silence through to the present day. So far Abish has only published three novels, three collections of short stories, one book of poetry and one autobiography. As the title infers, Abish is interested in the question of how uniquely German the Holocaust was, and how its people could have committed such an act. Ulrich, returned to Brumholdstein named after Ernst Brumhold, a Heidegger-type philosopher , begins to suffer occasional death threats and attempts are made on his life.
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