Heinrich Boil was probably the best post war german writer ,he won the Nobel prize in 1972 .When I lived in germany in early nineties he was vert well known and on my return to the uk I read a couple of his books ,But late last year when I ordered from library found there wasn’t much in stock so choose this probably his best known book in germany .
Billiards at half nine is About a businessman Robert Fahmel in Koln he is architect ,his secretary tells us about him and his habits ,but we are also told about his families history back to the 19th century a rich history ,We learn that Robert was opposed to the Nazis during the war and also about a conflict the host of buffalos and host of the lambs this is to all do with the church but in a greater sense harks back to the war and the battle of Nazism and pacifism during the war ,we also visit the battle of Kiev during the war .
Robert was not yet two and Otto not yet born ; I was on leave and for a long while had clearly known what I had once vaguely sensed ;that irony was inadequate and always would be inadequate ,that it was inly narcotic for the privileged, and I ought to have done what Johanna did ; I ought to have spoken to the boy ,in my captains’ uniform ,but I merely listened to him as he went on reciting .
Robert father in a flashback in 1917 on return to home from fighting on-line in world war one .
I found this a tough little book to work through I felt as thou a secom=nd reading would help if I see a cheap copy I will pick it up it has a real depth and complex plot that has a lot of allusions to world war to but in some ways the struggle of religion in germany over history .Boll is a wonderful writer I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in german feelings post war its easy to see the main character as a Heinrich boll he lives in Koln like Boll and is a similar age to Boll .Boll fought in the Wehrmacht in the second world war ,in Russia so the battle of Kiev scenes I would feel are Boll’s own experiences .The copy I had from library was a Jupiter edition from 1973 and was translated by Patrick Bowles .