Baker & Taylor Published for the first time in English, this post-World War II masterpiece by the author of Billiards at Half-Past Nine presents a haunting love story set in the bombed-out ruins of Cologne.
Blackwell North Amer The Silent Angel is a haunting love story set amid the ruins of a bombed-out city, which is in fact Cologne but has been compared by the critics today to destroyed Sarajevo, Beirut, and Belfast. Suppressed in Germany for over forty-one years, the book has quickly become a major literary event and a bestseller in Europe, for it was Nobel laureate Heinrich Boll's first book, a work that was originally judged too strong for German readers still suffering from the ravages of war. The story begins with the return of a hardened and cynical soldier, Hans Schnitzler, who quickly falls into a dangerous web of financial and personal intrigues as he searches for the widow of a comrade. He meets Regina Unger, another war widow who has just lost her baby, and their ensuing love story, set among the ruins of the city, will force readers to recall Nathan and Sophie in William Styron's Sophie's Choice. Yet Boll's characters reach a completely different ending, for in Regina and in his reexposure to the church, Hans Schnitzler finds a redemptive purpose for living, and his psychic and physical recovery take on heightened meaning as he wanders through the "naked destruction, desolate and terribly empty, as if the breath of the bomb still hung in the air." Fans of Boll's classic works and new readers alike will be startled by the power of the novel's language, particularly by Boll's use of irony and imagery. For the remarkable language for this book, so ably translated by Breon Mitchell, echoes the power of earlier German writers like Franz Kafka and Max Brod yet also serves as the first harbinger of a generation of postwar literature that was still to come.
Baker & Taylor Returning to the ruins of post-World War II Cologne, Hans finds his cynicism fading through his healing relationships with the Church and with his new love, Regina