Bad Nights

D.A.N. Jones

  • The Casualty by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz
    Chatto, 189 pp, £9.95, October 1986, ISBN 0 7011 2928 X
  • Augustus by Allan Massie
    Bodley Head, 339 pp, £9.95, September 1986, ISBN 0 370 30757 7
  • Gabriel’s Lament by Paul Bailey
    Cape, 331 pp, £9.95, September 1986, ISBN 0 224 02823 5
  • The Mind and Body Shop by Frank Parkin
    Collins, 221 pp, £9.95, September 1986, ISBN 0 00 217695 5

When Heinrich Böll died, last year, we had come to respect him as a Roman Catholic pacifist, a Nobel Prizeman speaking measured words to young idealists. We may have forgotten the work of his youth, the two post-war novels based on his experience of service with the German Army in Russia. The 22 stories in The Casualty were written in the immediately post-war period, 1946 to 1952, so that they are ‘old’ stories, but satisfyingly youthful, physically aware of particulars, not seeking generalisations, hot-tempered, desperate and ashamed.

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