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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Paperback – Large Print, December 31, 2009
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Original Language: German --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
[ would have preferred the original german edition rather tthan the english translationPublished 11 months ago by Wolf Duvernoy
h boll has the ability to make you feel like reading a news series on a magazine. writes like a journalist, cold and detached, just giving you the necessary details regarding the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by NGT
When he wrote this novella in 1974, Heinrich Boll was furious with the yellow press; anger radiates from the very disclaimer (which states that the newspaper in this book is... Read morePublished 17 months ago by E. Smiley
Interesting story. I will see the movie when it comes down in price.Published 20 months ago by DDRose
Heinrich Böll, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (McGraw-Hill, 1974)
[originally posted 29Jan2001]
One of the things about the European avant-garde literature... Read more
Read this in German, and it was quite manageable, because this novel is very short (120 p) and because the very dry style of Böll really works to stress the horrible things... Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Marc L
The book begins at the end where we find out Katharina killed a man in her apartment. In fact, she goes to the police and reports the crime herself. Read morePublished on June 3, 2013 by getrus
This story of Heinrich Boell constitutes a deadly attack against an aggressively subjective, hysterically ideological and insidiously provocative press. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by Luc REYNAERT