The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum is the second book I’ve read by Heinrich Böll after The Train Was on Time, and sadly, I wouldn’t say I liked this book as much as the author’s first novel. The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum is a “must-read” book in terms of both its subject matter and fiction, but unfortunately, it makes people sad and crazy. Especially if what happened to poor Katharina Blum gives you a “normal situation” effect,The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, which was written years ago, will hit you even more.
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum tells the story of Katharina Blum’s life being turned into a dungeon when she takes an anarchist into her home and escapes capture by the cops. Imagine a newspaper that writes all kinds of fake news and borderless smears for the sake of sales, a society that reads this newspaper with faith, and a police institution and judiciary that bends the law by their own rules.
Opposite all of this is Katharina Blum, an independent woman who has worked for years and tried to stand on her own two feet, doing her job perfectly. You won’t be able to get angry while reading The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. Although the translation was excellent, this book, written by the author as if he were reporting a report, unfortunately, did not give me much literary pleasure. If you are going to meet the author for the first time, I suggest you read another book and notThe Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. Enjoy!
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum: In an era in which journalists will stop at nothing to break a big story, Henrich Böll’s The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum has taken on heightened relevance.
A young woman’s association with a hunted man makes her the target of a journalist determined to grab the headlines by portraying her as an evil woman. As the attacks on her escalate and she becomes the victim of anonymous threats, Katharina sees only one way out of her nightmare.
Turning the mystery genre on its head,The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum begins with the confession of a crime, drawing the reader into a web of sensationalism, character assassination, and the unavoidable eruption of violence.
Heinrich Theodor Böll, (born December 21, 1917, Cologne, Germany—died July 16, 1985, Bornheim-Merten, near Cologne, West Germany), German writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972. Böll’s ironic novels on the travails of German life during and after World War II capture the changing psychology of the German nation.
The son of a cabinetmaker, Böll graduated from high school in 1937. He was called into compulsory labour service in 1938 and then served six years as a private and then a corporal in the German army, fighting on the Russian and other fronts. Böll’s wartime experiences—being wounded, deserting, becoming a prisoner of war—were central to the art of a writer who remembered the “frightful fate of being a soldier and having to wish that the war might be lost.” After the war he settled in his native Cologne.
Böll’s earliest success came with short stories, the first of which were published in 1947; these were later collected in Wanderer, kommst du nach Spa (1950; Traveller, If You Come to Spa). In his early novels Der Zug war pünktlich (1949; The Train Was on Time) and Wo warst du Adam? (1951; Adam, Where Art Thou?), he describes the grimness and despair of soldiers’ lives.
The uneasiness of reality is explored in the life of a mechanic in Das Brot der frühen Jahre (1955; The Bread of Our Early Years) and in a family of architects in Billard um halb zehn (1959; Billiards at Half-Past Nine), which, with its interior monologues and flashbacks, is his most complex novel. In the popular Ansichten eines Clowns (1963; The Clown), the protagonist deteriorates through drinking from being a well-paid entertainer to a begging street musician.
Böll’s other writings include Und sagte kein einziges Wort (1953; Acquainted with the Night) and Ende einer Dienstfahrt (1966; End of a Mission), in which the trial of a father and son lays bare the character of the townspeople. In his longest novel, Gruppenbild mit Dame (1971; Group Portrait with Lady), Böll presented a panorama of German life from the world wars to the 1970s through the accounts of the many people who have figured in the life of his middle-aged “lady,” Leni Pfeiffer. Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (1974; The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum) attacked modern journalistic ethics as well as the values of contemporary Germany.
Was soll aus dem Jungen bloss werden?; oder, Irgendwas mit Büchern (1981; What’s to Become of the Boy?; or, Something to Do with Books) is a memoir of the period 1933–37. The novel Der Engel schwieg (The Silent Angel) was written in 1950 but first published posthumously in 1992; in it a German soldier struggles to survive in war-ravaged Cologne after World War II. Der blasse Hund (1995; The Mad Dog) collected previously unpublished short stories, while another early novel, Kreuz ohne Liebe (“Cross Without Love”), was first published in 2003.
A Roman Catholic and a pacifist, Böll developed a highly moral but individual vision of the society around him. A frequent theme of his was the individual’s acceptance or refusal of personal responsibility. Böll used austere prose and frequently sharp satire to present his antiwar, nonconformist point of view. He was widely regarded as the outstanding humanist interpreter of his nation’s experiences in World War II.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: