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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Paperback – Large Print, December 31, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Boll sustains a masterly and insidious tension to the end. He is detached, angry and totally in control" The Times "Such is the force of Boll's conviction, the clarity of his vision and the icy economy of his unemotive prose that within this short space he has distilled a spirit that burns into the palate the unmistakeable and lasting tang of truth" Sunday Times "A marvel of compression and irony" Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Large Print; large type edition edition (December 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412812763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412812764
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,744,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A minor incident in Katrina Blum's life, turned into news by needy papers, sets in motion a series of destructive events which make the incident a horribly defining one. Boll leads the reader into an evaluation of the so-called "disintrested" and "unbiased" media, who make their living from revealing the darker side of human nature. A good book to read in the aftermath of any media "discovery" or "controversy".
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By A Customer on October 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have to admit, I saw the film before reading the book, and I recommend them both. In today's climate in America, - when the police profession is considered one of the noblest by liberals and conservatives alike, and the so-called "liberal" press, which crossed the line into tabloid journalism awhile ago, and which still hides behind the myth/lie of "objectivity," - this book is as timely and relevant today as it ever was, and should be mandatory viewing/reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heinrich Boll (d. 1985) was one of the three greatest German novelists (along with Gunter Grass and W.G. Sebald) of the latter half of the 20th Century. This novella was initially published in serialized form in "Der Spiegel" in 1974. Boll wrote it midst public controversy in Germany over the reporting of political violence by a large-circulation newspaper, which Boll felt unduly transgressed the rights of individuals in a liberal democracy.

Katharina Blum is an attractive young woman with a strong sense of honor trying to make a living, independently, in the restaurant/catering field and taking care of the homes of affluent professionals. She is the epitome of the capitalistic ethic, a young woman from a working-class background attempting to secure for herself a comfortable petty bourgeois existence. By happenstance, she ends up entertaining, as a romantic interest, a fugitive who, unbeknownst to her, is suspected (wrongly) of terroristic activities. She is ensnared in the investigation, and then spotlighted and hounded by the large-circulation newspaper (the "News"). The newspaper cloaks itself in the familiar homilies of a free press, but in actuality it wallows in the gutter of yellow journalism, and by the end of the novella it has sullied Katharina Blum, indirectly killed her aged and ill mother, damaged the lives of several unassuming friends of hers, and precipitated other unforeseen violence.

In addition to its critique of sensationalistic, irresponsible journalism, THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM also attacks the media's intrusion on individual privacy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know that on the surface this book has some basis in West German attitudes and politics in the time of the pre-1989 divided Germany. And all of the web literature that someone read to me talks mainly about this historical foundation.

But, for me, this book was reminiscent of The Stranger by Albert Camus. In the case of Katharina Blum, we have a character who is extremely normal on the surface - hardworking, law abiding, self-supporting. But her main feature is her self-integrity and her obedience to her own rules of life, as in the assistance she provides to a person sought by the police. After all, she has hitherto been highly successful in marching to her own drummer. Thus, she seems to me to be a "unique" hidden behind the veils of seeming conformity. Indeed, even her conformity is her conscious choice. In the last analysis, she is self-regulated and not societally regulated.

This is apparent in her interviews with the police in which she chooses to alienate herself rather than to continue to conform as a good citizen. It is certainly true in respect to the "free press" which takes the form of sensationalistic tabloid in this book. The intrusion of society into her integrity, whether in the form of authority or in the form of a "treasured value" (i.e., the press), leads Katharina Blum to do something that is universally recognized as anti-societal and then to return to the rules of society. I wonder what might be her future beyond the ending of this book.

This is really worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Information manipulation, secrets and lies and cover-ups all in the name of providing a service of keeping the public in the "loop" of day-to-day current events are the backdrops of Heinrich Boll's terse and relevant novel, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Or How Violence Developes and Where It Can Lead. What happens when a person is pushed to the brink of insanity? Do they become a submissive doormat and allow themselves to be completely consumed or do they push back by whatever means necessary in order to obtain the caliber of liberty they once posessed? In this novel-the protagonist-Katharina Blum is placed in just such a scenario where a battle ensues between her and her nemesis, Totges, a hungry reporter who works for a tabloid news outfit appropriately called the "News," an unyielding and unflinching information organization that will stop at nothing-even slander and character assassination-to promote itself as being the ultimate "truth-seeker" despite their limited knowledge and understaning of that which they are seeking. Getting the story and fabricating it in order to remain first is the end-all and be-all, and truth and innocence takes a back seat. In the novel, Katharina is associated with Gotten, a "criminal". And because of that innocent connection, she is placed on par with him as a mastermind of evil, deviancy and debauchery; her life is firmly hybridized with his, and no matter how innocent her actions, she cannot escape the glued-on innuendo solidly attached to her reputation, and as the multi-layered cool and collected Katharina gradually gets stripped away to the bone, she lashes out and evolves into a real criminal, whereby before she was only a fabricated one, fodder for the news media in order to reach to the pinnacles of journalistic success.Read more ›
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