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 weight of the past, the haunting and shame and guilt. However it was a real yawn and took strength to press through and finish. The idea of the modern German identity is an interesting one to me.

His first novel, Duel Sitedid not appear until Abish was turning forty. The ‘teacher’ was this tall, slim, incredibly attractive–in a German sort of way–twentysomething guy whose intensity was both fascinati and grotesque. History did never happen. Hope someone else wants it. Wie deutsch ist dieser Roman?

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.

Apr 03, Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing. The book has a lot of punch. Apparently not so much. Dec 26, Ben Siems rated it liked it Recommends it for: For all the turbulent subject germam, the writing is witty and moves quickly and the cast of characters well-differentiated and memorable.

How German Is It by Walter Abish

Penguin Modern Classics, pp. His brother, Helmuth, a successful architect who designed the police station in Brumholdstein only to see it blown up by the terrorist group operating in the areabegins to suffer from similar concerns.

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One of the best things I’ve read.

But what I think might be the real topic at hand here wallter not Germany, but America. His second novel, Alphabetical Africacemented his reputation. How can a town or a people live past events that are infamous and unforgivable?

How German Is It?

This is an introduction to the German tranquillity and decorum. They have discarded the elitist von from their id last name, much to the disapproval of the residents of Brumholdstein—the chic, uber-modern community in which they live. Return to Book Page. Throughout the book, staggered exposition on the Hargenau family also serves to distract from the sense of doom.

In the seventies and eighties there remained a certain hostility towards German and Germany and not just among the older generations, so a novel centred on present day well, s Germans’ relationship ls Germany’s Nazi past interested me from the POV of gaining insight from the ‘other side’ although we are talking about more than a generation ago now, which matters more in Germany than most nations, I suspect.

To this conundrum Abish adds much with his cinematic prose, prefigured by the quote from Jean-Luc Godard that opens his book: Abish’s narration is so thick with irony you couldn’t cut it with a buzzsaw. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

I was a young adult in the late seventies when the novel is set so it isn’t that I am too germaj to remember when Germany was verman run by the generation that came of wzlter during or immediately after the Nazi era. 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.

Even after reading the back summary, trying to process the cover photo, and attempting to understand where Abish fit into literature somewhere in the ’70s Barthelme burn-all-the-rules-down-in-a-weird-humorous-way slice of things, I believeI still may have taken my absih starting this one. This page was last edited on 21 Decemberat But throw those things together into an experimental hodge-podge? It just wasn’t in the script, you see.


It stems from theif infamous ANGST– an all-pervasivd anguish and anxiety for and about life, of what cannot be controlled in life. For Abish, How German Is It is a novel that questions the very identity of a nation in transition, trying to face up to its troubled past.

And then the family as a gow for heritage: The plot, if there is one, is a r Not sure if this book is devilishly funny or just devilish. Email required Address never made public. The book is so freakishly complex. Consider what I experienced about 2 months ago. This isn’t a bad book, but one to be read instead of reviewed. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: It’s a compelling and entertaining and thoughtful take on the modern world, and the modern Germany, and asks a lot of questions about what the past is, and the present, and the future and all that.

Walter Abish is an American author of experimental novels and short stories. Anyway–from ‘how German is it.?

Abish, Walter. “How German Is It” () | Blogging The Classics

And they all live in Brumholdstein, a new town for the chic named after the Heidegger-like idealist philosopher Brumhold. Helmuth is a prosperous architect and Ulric It took me much longer than expected to finish this book.

Much reflection with characters discussing all sorts of issues they consider meaningful.