The question How German Is It underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s novel, an icy panorama of contemporary. The question HOW GERMAN IS IT underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s new novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany. The question implicit in the title of Walter Abish’s novel1 immediat alerts us to problems moment in German history, Abish plays with the familiar images such .

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Then there are the titles of the book the main character has written: How German Is It is quite German. And, waler later in the book, we don’t get confirmation of this, but when we do it’s welcome and pleasing as a reading experience.

For Abish, How German Is It is a novel that questions the very identity of a nation in transition, trying to face up to its troubled past. The question is “How German” was the holocaust? In he published Double Vision: It took me much longer than expected to finish this book.

How German Is It by Walter Abish

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.

Well, water 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.

His two sons, Helmuth, a somewhat uptight architect and Ulrich, a novelist with a past involvement with a terrorist group, must reconcile with this legacy. Not sure if this book is devilishly funny or just devilish. In the seventies and eighties there remained a certain hostility towards German and Germany and not just among the older generations, so a novel centred on present day well, s Germans’ relationship to Germany’s Nazi past interested me from the POV of gaining insight from the ‘other side’ although we are talking about more than a generation ago now, which matters more in Germany than most nations, I suspect.


But the key character here is a visitor to Brumholdstein–Helmuth’s novelist-brother Ulrich, who’s apparently guilty of having turned in his first wife’s terrorist cronies writers can afford no loyalties: Helmuth is a prosperous architect and Ulrich is a writer of popular autobiographical fiction. People out for a stroll, affably greeting their neighbours.

Decades later, he finds his ferman defined by his cowardice in testifying against members of a terrorist group with which he and his wife have strong ties.

As others have said, perhaps too much?

How German Is It/Wie Deutsch ist es

The guy gave his all to this First Aid stuff as if his life depended on it–which maybe it did since Waltef have to do everything with intensity, no matter how banal.

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. A day of pleasant exchanges.

This is probably his most famous novel, set in Germany in the 70s where the Nazi past sits uneasily and the left-wing terrorist present has grabbed center stage. I fear that these issues are being buried and will rise again.

His brother, Helmuth, a successful architect who designed the police station in Brumholdstein only to see it blown up by the terrorist group operating in the areabegins to suffer from similar concerns.

The prose is brilliant—at times fluid and long-reaching, but mostly abiding by a stark, matter-of-factness that is delivered in short, standalone paragraphs throughout the novel’s entirety. When it does- it’s thrilling. In Alphabetical Africa, for instance, the first chapter consists entirely of words beginning with the letter “A.

Home About the Challenge. This page was last edited on 21 Decemberat Anyway–from ‘how German is it.? German waltre, violence, self–abasement, rigidity, idealism–all ruffle the pieces here. I fear I lack deeper understanding of its id, cultural and philosophical nuances.


How German Is It/Wie Deutsch ist es | novel by Abish |

Abish both creates a unique narrative and explores the nature of being German. The answers Abish finds to these questions are not always satisfactory, if only because Abish himself was uncertain of them.

Abish’s narration is so thick with irony you couldn’t cut it with a buzzsaw. Part of the book’s structure reminded me of Life: Want to Read Currently Reading Read. It has that same awe-inspiring feeling of being planned down to the last letter, while still seeming to reveal itself completely organically. Dec 13, L rated it it was ok Shelves: Part of the book With a title like this and a last name like minehow could I not read this book? What I found was a calmly sinister, subtly I am absolutely in love with this book and probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I wasn’t hi-jacking a friend’s reading list for my own selfish gains thanks Eric.

Dec 19, Margaux Tatin Blanc rated it it was amazing. Further suggestions might be found on the article’s talk page. Nov 04, Jerrod rated it it was amazing. The former is illustrated by a town renamed after a contemporary philosopher where the past is literally covered up by concrete a sewer pipe collapse revels a mass grave from a former prison camp and figuratively all library card catalog entries for the town’s prior name redirect to the new one and nothing else. I am absolutely in love with this book and probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I wasn’t hi-jacking a friend’s reading list for my own selfish gains thanks Eric.

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