The question How German Is It underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s novel, an icy panorama of contemporary. The question HOW GERMAN IS IT underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish’s new novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany. The question implicit in the title of Walter Abish’s novel1 immediat alerts us to problems moment in German history, Abish plays with the familiar images such .

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And then the family as a metaphor for heritage: I told him, im English, that I’d missed that part–due to my weak German.

Fornication and adultery are the best entertainment. The former is illustrated by a town renamed after a contemporary philosopher where the past is literall A young Walter Abish and his parents fled Austria in the late s and after the better part of two decades first in Shanghai, then Israel, he came to America, finally beginning walte publish English fiction and poetry in his early 40s.

Not only the iy brothers, but also their old butler and some of the women in their lives narrate. I laughed through all the talk about the weather, and the German words used to describe it. So in effect, through the law allows me to take the written driving test in my own language even if I know no German at all, the law also demands that I spend an entire day listening to First Aid info in German, even when the law knows and accepts that I don’t understand German!

I did so, and he stopped me because, he said in English, I’d forgotten to first tell ‘someone’ who?

Abish, Walter. “How German Is It” () | Blogging The Classics

How German Is It is quite German. But then questions of how to comprehend the atrocities of the Third Reich will trouble novelists for eternity.

For Abish, How German Is It is a novel that questions the very identity of a nation in transition, trying to face up to its troubled past. Feb 20, Azabu rated it really liked it. The United States Of America. It is too clever and too shallow, T. Published November 17th by New Directions first published Literary trickster, Walter Abish, was a late bloomer. Much reflection with characters discussing all sorts of issues they consider meaningful. I was worried the end would fizzle out stupidly but it did not.


Abish both creates a unique narrative and explores the nature of being German. Set 34 years after the fall of the Third Reich, it follows the lives of a number of hateful characters, during a period of several months, as they do their best to appear “perfect” to the rest of the world while behaving despicably to each other.

Home About the Challenge. And probably the irony and the power of the very essence of Germanness is that it can be both a fascinating and a terrifying thing. Walter Abish is an American author of experimental novels and short stories. And much like the sinkhole that opens up beneath Brumholdstein, the toxic vibes terrorism, rampant infidelity and other types of popular upper class play, an infinite level of post-war emotion for Germany to deal with—if ever deftly erode from within.

For Abish, How German Is It is a novel that questions the very identity of a nation in transition, trying to face up to its troubled past. The question is “How German” was the holocaust? The discovery of a mass grave at the site of a former Nazi death camp encapsulates the struggle to come to terms with identity, legacy, and personal responsibility amidst events with global implications.


A very well written book that, as a bonus, explained for me a great deal about my family. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Apr 03, Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing. His brother, Helmuth, a successful architect who designed the police station in Brumholdstein only to see it blown up by the terrorist group operating in the areabegins to suffer from similar concerns. Dec germah, Jessica rated it liked it. To this conundrum Abish adds much with his cinematic prose, prefigured by the quote from Jean-Luc Godard that opens his book: Ulrich, returned to Brumholdstein named after Ernst Brumhold, a Heidegger-type philosopherbegins to suffer occasional death threats and attempts are made on his life.

His postmodern flourishes serve to accentuate the newness and uncertainty of the moments in time he writes about, while also raising larger questions about humanity and the Holocaust. So far Abish has only published three novels, three collections of short stories, one book of poetry and one autobiography.


In adopting the name of Hoe we have ahish, in all seriousness, embraced his lifelong claim to the questions: History did never happen. It does full justice to an exploration of post-war Germany with abosh nuance and memory-play, as well as dark humor. As others have said, perhaps too much?

Read it while on holiday in France and it’s as compelling as ever. You are commenting using your Twitter account. In German, ‘angst’ actually means fear but, like with many other German words, it’s travelled to all other languages.

This article about a s novel is a stub. Brumholdstein was the site of a notorious gas chamber and concentration camp, now buried beneath the modern facade.

I did learn some about Germany as the book was educational at times. How can a town or a people live past events that are infamous and unforgivable?

As the yerman infers, Abish is interested in the question of how uniquely German the Holocaust germam, and how its people could have committed such an act.

Nazi ghosts ia around the characters, and it’s clear that the members of this generation have mixed emotions about their country’s recent past, representing a wide spectrum from vague sympathy to full condemnation.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A warehouse, so to speak, of history. Consider what I experienced about 2 months ago. I would not rank it among my all-time favorite novels, but I think it is a great read, especially for anyone of German heritage.

This is the kind of book you start reading, and you immediately get very excited about. The book’s narrative structure features internal monologues and different authorial viewpoints by many of the characters.

It stems from theif infamous ANGST– an all-pervasivd anguish and anxiety for and about life, of what cannot be controlled in life.