Group Portrait with Lady (The Essential Heinrich Boll)

Category: Genre Fiction
Author: Leila Vennewitz
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by rumcajz   2018-09-06
There is stuff that you can't learn anywhere but classics. Take, for example, Nazi Germany. We tend to have this stereotypical image of it as evil murderous empire where everyone was either a murderer or a victim.

Heinrich Böll's "Group Portrait with Lady"[1] is a book about that period. You expect particular kind of stuff in such a book: Gestapo officers torturing dissenters. Jew hunts. Nurnberg rallies. Etc.

Then you read the book and Hitler or concentration camps and not mentioned even once. It's full of people trying to live their lives. Teenagers are in love one with another. People go to work. Try to build a business. Pay their taxes. Play piano. They have problems with their children and extramarital affairs. They have varied political opinions. They die of natural causes.

It would be pretty hard to get that kind of (very terrifying, in a way) understanding of the period through history books.