The question How German Is It underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s novel, an icy panorama of contemporary. The question HOW GERMAN IS IT underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s new novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany. The question implicit in the title of Walter Abish’s novel1 immediat alerts us to problems moment in German history, Abish plays with the familiar images such .
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The question HOW GERMAN IS IT underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s new novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany, in which the tradition of order and obedience, the patrimony of the saber and the castle on the Rhine, give way to the present, indiscriminate fascination with all things American. On his return from Paris to his home city The question HOW GERMAN IS IT underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s new novel, an walted panorama of contemporary Germany, in which the tradition of order and obedience, the patrimony of the saber and the castle on the Rhine, give way to the present, indiscriminate fascination with waltdr things American.
On his return from Paris to his home city of Wurtenburg, Ulrich Hargenau, whose father was executed for his involvement in the plot against Hitler, is compelled to ask himself, “How German am I? Paperbackpages. Published November 17th by New Directions first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about How German Is Itplease sign up.
Lists with This Book. Apr 03, Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing. And then, having established these standards, it sets up other standards of comparison, which serve, if nothing else, to confirm in the minds of most people that a great many things are less than perfect. Fornication and adultery are the best entertainment. A warehouse, so to speak, of history. History did never happen. The only evidence of life on the passing trains was an occasional scarecrow face framed in the tiny cutout window of a freight car.
One of the best experimental-procedural novels, full stop. All the more amazing for Abish having never been to Germany yet so as to not color his titular question one way or another.
Vie Deutsch Ist Es? There will be a quiz. Bring your Blue Books. Wie deutsch ist dieser Roman? A mesmeric peep into the postwar German psyche.
How German Is It (Wie Deutsch ist es)
Apr 17, S. I guess that gefman limited audience for such a book equals limited air time. But I ate it up. I am the target audience! The weight of the past, the haunting and shame and guilt.
The book has a lot of punch. I was worried the end would fizzle out stupidly but abishh did not. It was surprising and strong. Basically the theme is on p. When a collapsed sewer reveals a mass burial site folks are particular about doing the right thing. For all its seriousness the book is also very funny. I laughed through all the talk about the weather, and the German words used to describe it.
Then there are the titles of the book the main character has written: And then the family as a metaphor for heritage: In comparison to her, Gisela was by far more agile, more inventive. Erika, he called from the window. Erika, stop it immediately. And when he thought about it later, he concluded that it was true. He did feel more at home, but that did not mean that he liked it.
Here the house as nation stripped of everything it could be proud of, art, culture and ideals: A house that after the war was gradually emptied of its contents, its furniture, its paintings, its silverware, its carpets, anything that was of value. People from all over came to see what we had to sell. Aug 18, Maia rated it really liked it. How German is ‘it’ — meaning: Well, from the book’s POV plus my own epxerience after 3 years as a foreigner in Germany I’d say thay ‘it’ is very, very German indeed.
And probably the irony and the power of the very essence of Germanness is that it can be both a fascinating and a terrifying thing. Consider what I experienced about 2 months ago. I need to apply for a drivers’ license because there is no recirpocity between Germany and my home US state, des How German is ‘it’ — meaning: I need to apply for a drivers’ license because there is no recirpocity between Germany and my home Ix state, despite the fact that I have walger driving for 25 years.
I can take the written test in English but I also need to attend a compulsory First Aid class–which is only given in German!
hw So in effect, through the law allows me to take the written driving test in my own language even if I know no German at all, the law also demands that I spend an entire day listening to First Aid info in German, even when the law knows and accepts that I don’t understand German! So I went to the First Aid class hours straight in a tiny room with about 30 other people, mostly teens.
Germa hours with only two 15 minutes breaks. The ‘teacher’ was this tall, slim, incredibly attractive–in a German sort of way–twentysomething guy whose intensity was both fascinati and grotesque. The guy gave his all to this First Aid stuff as if his life depended on it–which maybe it geramn since Germans have to do everything with intensity, no matter how banal.
We got thousands of slides and so much information you’d think we were being trained as Medics! A d every ten mins he’d break off with exercises. So, during one of these, which I could only half follow geran my germa weak German, I was supposed to show how I’d lW down a fainting person on the ground.
I did so, and he stopped me because, he said in English, I’d forgotten to first tell ‘someone’ who? I told him, im English, that I’d missed that part–due to my weak German.
So one of the kids in the class offered to be the one I sent off to call the ambulance and assured me, ‘you always have to tell someone to call the ambulance. What if I don’t have someone send off for the ambulance? Do i then leave the fainting person there and do it myself, or do I take care of the fainting person first?
Clearly, no one had thought of that! It just wasn’t in the script, you see. How could you know? They have this obsessive, compulsive, at times all-consuming need go control everything.
It stems from theif infamous ANGST– an all-pervasivd anguish and anxiety for and about life, of what cannot be controlled in life. In German, ‘angst’ actually means fear but, like with many other German words, wlater travelled to all other languages.
Anyway–from ‘how German is it.? May 20, Sean rated it really liked it Shelves: It took me much longer than expected to finish this book.
Not because it was dull or even particularly slow-moving. It was more due to the lifestyles of the characters and the meandering nature of the narrative. The plot focuses on the two sons of Ulrich von Now, an anti-Nazi activist executed for his role in the plot to assassinate Hitler.
Helmuth is a prosperous architect and Ulric It took me much longer than expected to finish this book. Helmuth is a prosperous architect and Ulrich is a writer of popular autobiographical fiction.
They have discarded the elitist von from their aristocratic last name, much to the disapproval of the residents of Brumholdstein—the chic, uber-modern community in which they live. Helmuth has designed many of the town’s civic landmarks, regularly lunches with the mayor, and revels in the deference given him by his fellow citizens. An ominous cloud hangs over much of the narrative, generating an expectation of something terrible about to occur, and there is enough mild intrigue to keep the plot afloat and the pages turning, but the clouds frequently part to reveal domestic scenes indicative of the free-wheeling, libertine s lifestyle, as enjoyed by two wealthy, good-looking German brothers with plenty of spare time to burn.
How German Is It – Wikipedia
During these often soap-operatic jaunts, a sense of complacency settled over me, though not enough to fully squelch my nagging awareness of the bad thing possibly lurking around the corner. Throughout the book, staggered exposition on germxn Hargenau family also serves to distract waltdr the sense of doom. Nazi ghosts swirl around the characters, and it’s clear that the members qbish this generation have mixed emotions about their country’s recent past, representing a wide spectrum from vague sympathy to full condemnation.
The book captures so well a snapshot of one community’s struggle to progress in democratic style while still hampered by entrenched class issues and lingering fascist mindsets.
It is chiefly a character-driven story, and it’s through his skilled characterization that Abish is able to present such a layered portrait of post-war Germany. His postmodern flourishes serve to accentuate the newness and uncertainty of the moments in time he writes about, while also raising larger questions about humanity and the Holocaust.
Jul 28, Nathan rated it liked it. Very, as it turns out. Apr 22, Bob rated it it was amazing. A young Walter Abish and his parents fled Austria in the late s and after the better part of two decades first in Shanghai, then Israel, he came to America, finally beginning to publish English fiction and poetry in his early 40s.
This is probably his most famous novel, set in Germany in the 70s where the Nazi past sits uneasily and the left-wing terrorist present has grabbed center stage.