Group Portrait With Lady (Paperback)
|Previously published: New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973. With new afterword by William T. Vollmann.|
From the Publisher:
Leni Pfeiffer is a war widow who, with her neighbors, is fighting the demolition of the Cologne apartment building in which they reside. Leni and her illegitimate son Lev become the nexus of Cologne's counterculture; they spurn the prevailing work ethic and assail the dehumanization of life under capitalism.
Born in Cologne in 1917, Heinrich Boll had an extraordinarily happy childhood. His father was a furniture maker with his own workshop, and his Catholic family was liberal and humane. That background of broad-minded tolerance made it possible for Boll to resist the allure of Nazism that swept Germany when he was a teenager; he refused to join the party, even though that made his admittance to the university difficult. Eventually, however, he enrolled--only to be drafted into the German army, where he served reluctantly for six years, always hoping for the defeat of Germany and never ceasing to try to get out of the service. In 1942 he married a teacher of English, with whom he had four sons; after the war, his wife's earnings supported the family while Boll wrote fiction, polishing his celebrated Hemingway-like minimalist style. Between 1947 and 1950 he wrote 60 short stories. Boll and his wife also collaborated on translations of Shaw, Behan, and Salinger. In 1972 he received the Nobel Prize in literature. He died in 1985, widely considered to be "the conscience of the nation."
"...a humanitarian document of our times which can stand comparison with the best efforts of a Silone, a Camus, or a Brecht....[A] forceful plea...on behalf of human solidarity and equality." - Ralph Ley 1985