Heinrich Böll, “The lost honor of Katharina Blum”

I saw the film version of this last year (highly recommended), which inspired me to read the book, albeit the English translation. Now that I’ve read that, I might attempt the German original. Katharina Blum, a modest, divorced housekeeper, is thrown into the public eye after she goes home with a man she meets at a party. Her lover is a suspected bank robber and terrorist, and every aspect of her life and supposed ties to the man are analyzed by police and exaggerated by the press, which pushes her over the edge.

Published: 1974, 140 pp.
Obtained via: Library
Date started: 3.16.07
Date finished: 3.22.07
What I liked: The third-person storytelling makes this story read like a police report or developing news story. It’s really artfully crafted.
What I didn’t like: I had a hard time keeping some of the names straight.
What I learned: America’s terror hysteria has a lot of similarities to Germany’s situation in the 1970s.
Unresolved question: Did Katharina really know the man was wanted by police?

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