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Bad Nights

D.A.N. Jones

23 October 1986
The Casualty 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Chatto, 189 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780701129286
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Augustus 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 339 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 370 30757 7
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Gabriel’s Lament 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 331 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 224 02823 5
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The Mind and Body Shop 
by Frank Parkin.
Collins, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 00 217695 5
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... in some ways, like any other army. We are often reminded of the earliest stories of the young Hemingway, trying to exorcise his memories of World War One: the excellent English of the translator, LeilaVennewitz, supports and strengthens this comparison. The longest story, ‘The Casualty’, has a familiar ring, to British ears: a soldier is blissfully travelling home, through Rumania, on a ...

A Word Like a Bullet

Michael Hofmann: Heinrich Böll

18 July 2019
The Train Was on Time 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Penguin, 108 pp., £8.99, April, 978 0 241 37038 4
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... Böll’s first novel – published in 1949, seventy years ago, the year of the post-World War Two settlement, the founding of baby Nato (with just 12 members) and the two rival German states. Even LeilaVennewitz’s English translation is half a century old now (it dates from 1970). Not that the story is at all forward-looking. Rather, it straightaway beetles back even further, back and away, to ...

Public Life

Pat Rogers

1 April 1982
A Model Childhood 
by Christa Wolf, translated by Ursule Molinaro and Hedwig Rappolt.
Virago, 407 pp., £8.95, April 1982, 0 86068 253 6
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The Safety Net 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Secker, 314 pp., £7.50, March 1982, 9780436054549
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The Country of her Dreams 
by Janice Elliott.
Hodder, 186 pp., £6.95, March 1982, 0 340 27830 7
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The Soul’s Gymansium and Other Stories 
by Harold Acton.
Hamish Hamilton, 165 pp., £7.95, February 1982, 0 241 10740 7
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... The original title of Christa Wolf’s novel, Kindheitsmuster, could mean something like ‘a pattern of childhood’, but her translators have rightly gone for a more idiomatic expression. In turning the noun into an attributive adjective, they’ve stressed the idea of an exemplary upbringing, and that is wholly apt. The career of Nelly Jordan is normative, within a certain German (though here specifically ...

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