An unforgettable novel that shows how easily a life can be ruined when the police and the media are allowed to run rampage through a person's life. It resonates as strongly today as it did in 1970s Germany.
Heinrich B ll was one of the trio of great German writers (along with Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse) who have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. B ll was born in Cologne in 1917 and brought up in a liberal Catholic pacifist family. Drafted into the Wehrmacht, he served on the Russian and French fronts and was wounded four times before he found himself in an American prisoner-of-war camp. After the war he enrolled at the University of Cologne, but dropped out to write about his shattering experience as a soldier. His first novel, The Train Was on Time, was published in 1949, and he went on to become one of the most prolific and important of post-war German writers. His best-known novels include Billiards at Half-past Nine, Children are Civilians Too, Group Portrait with Lady, The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, And Never Said a Word and The Safety Net. B ll served for several years as president of International P.E.N. and was a leading defender of the intellectual freedom of writers throughout the world. He died in 1985.
Boll sustains a masterly and insidious tension to the end. He is
detached, angry and totally in control * The Times *
Such is the force of Boll's conviction, the clarity of his vision and the icy economy of his unemotive prose that within this short space he has distilled a spirit that burns into the palate the unmistakeable and lasting tang of truth * Sunday Times *
A marvel of compression and irony * Sunday Telegraph *