The lost Honour of Katharina Blum or how violence develops and where it can lead by Heinrich Böll
Original title – Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann
Translator – Leila Vennewitz
Source – personnel copy
A couple of years ago I review the German Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll best known book billiards at half past nine .Böll he refused to join the Hitler youth as a boy took an apprenticeship as a bookseller before becoming a full-time writer aged thirty .He was chairman of German PEN for a long time and then he chaired International PEN .He won the nobel prize in 1972 and passed away in 1985 .His book were mostly reissued in english a couple of years ago by Melville house .
Inquires into Blum’s activities during the four days in question progressed nicely enough at first ,and it was only when attempts were made to gather information about that sunday that they were brought up short
On the Wednesday afternoon Blorna personally paid Katharina Blum two full weeks wages at 280 marks per week ,one for the current week , the other for week to come
The reportage style of Böll writing in this book
The lost Honour of Katharina Blum ,follows Katharine Blum ,she gets drawn into a tabloid sensation after meeting a man at a party who it turns out is a bank robber and she becomes the target of the newspaper “der zeitung “( this is thinly veiled version of the German paper der bild a sort of German version of the sun ) .She is called a whore ,a communist sympathizer as she sees her private life torn apart by the paper and gets hate mail just for knowing one man . this leads her agreeing to do an interview with someone from the paper and now a couple of hours later she is at a police station giving this statement to the police about recent events in her life .What happened during that interview ? We see the story of her recent life unfurl .
Seven anonymous postcards , handwritten with “crude ” sexual propositions that in one way or another all included the words “communist bitch”
Four more anonymous postcards containing insulting political remarks but no sexual propostions .These marks ranged from “Red agitator ” to “Kremlin stooge ”
The fall out of what of Katharina Blum life in the papers .
The style of this book is like a police report or a bit of reportage we get a detached feel on the events in Katharina’s life and what lead to her agreeing to the interview and how she meet the man ,whom dragged her into the presses eyes .Amazing this book to say it was written in the 1974 before the modern scandals and rise of the modern celebs that have been caught in the media spotlight ,Katharine blum reminds me of many people who have been in the UK papers over the last few years people who have gotten caught up in a big story by chance or accident , like the landlord of a recent victim of a killer who saws his life invade by the papers by just being her landlord or the woman that hid her child .Katharine story is a bit more than theres in the end but we see how far some can be pushed by the tabloids and the prying eyes .For a book that is nearly thirty years old I would say the themes and style of Böll writing is still relevant today as much as ever .He captures what it is to have your life fall apart it seems .A small work that packs a punch above its weight .
Have you read Böll ?