The safety Net by Heinrich Böll
Original title Fürsorgliche Belagerung
Translator – Leila Vennewitz
Source – Personnel copy
We made the cops look dumb On the border line Springer said 'must be the mood of the times' Rudi says "we've got to get wise" And we've got to get armed' Its asurveillance state operation Rich kid with a gun Al-Fatah in Palestine against the P.L.O. Andreas says 'She's not the girl that I used to Know Rudi says....... A cheap lyric choice but I love luke haines as a singer and he did do an Album called baader meinhof (the name of the two main RAF members )
Well I’m back been off work for a couple of weeks on Holiday and decided to take a break from the blog as well , so I return with my first book for German lit month and it happens to be a book I won a couple of German lit months ago from Caroline , so it is a double prize winner really ! So this is the third book by the Nobel winning German writer Heinrich Böll on the blog , he has for me long been one of my favourite german writers and in many ways the best post world war two voice on West Germany .This is one of the books that was reissued by Melville house a few years ago in the essential Böll collection .
During these last few months his fear had been directed almost entirely towards technical matters , security measures .Concern had been supplanted ; now it was no longer fear of something but fear for : for Sabine , and for Hebert , for Kathe’s follies , least of all – and this surprised him – for Rolf .
Fitz starts to feel the fear of attack grow closer .
The safety net is a novel , but could also be classed in some ways as a collection of short stories as the story is built-in the chapter by glance into each of the people involved in the story .the story is of Fitz Tolm, a man who by luck in a way has risen to be a person of power within germany .The book is set in the late seventies actually in 1977 , just as the red army faction is falling apart .Now this is why we join Fitz and his family members as they have been threatened by the RAF , so have been taking into hiding by the German police to a safe house .So the story follows both the family as they adjust to being kept and restrict in their movements , but also in the team of people who are guarding them .Now Fitz accepts this but his children struggle , but also along the way Fitz finds out more about his children particularly his daughter Sabine , who he discovers is pregnant during this time .The is also Fitz’s old wives to add into the mix .Then there is a black sheep member of the family and is one of their kids involved with the terrorists !
and he recalled the young people sometimes met at Sabine’s , or rather had met , for of course the strict security measures had kept visitors away too .Among them there had been occasional flirtations with just that :pot and stronger stuff
The tough watching has brought restrictions too Fitz’s daughter Sabine , as the police check every one coming closer .
The story build slowly til we get to a climatic end .Heinrich tried to capture in this book , how the RAF effected the everyday lives of the rich and famous that were targeted by them at the time .but this is also a study into families and how they work internally , how the pressure of hiding away and having your every move monitored by the police can slowly open up even the smallest cracks with in a family .Heinrich had used this technique of voices of all involved in his other novels particularly Group portrait ,for me it is an effective way of capturing a moment like this is a moment of history from every angle .This was a bold choice when Heinrich first published it in 1979 , the dust hadn’t quite settled on the RAF and the events surrounding it .I said this before it is a shame Heinrich isn’t as well-known as he once was ,which is a shame .
Have you read his books ? Do you have a favourite ?