Walser, Martin (Vol. 27)
Martin Walser 1927–
West German novelist, dramatist, essayist, and short story writer.
Although Walser has not achieved significant international recognition, in Germany his literary stature is considerable. In 1981 he received the Georg-Büchner prize—a prize awarded to authors who have made meaningful contributions to the contemporary culture of Germany.
Walser's early plays, notably Eiche und Angora (1962; The Rabbit Race), and novels show his concern with the post-World War II German society. He is highly critical of the German tendency to forget the past, and of the effect the postwar "economic miracle" is having on contemporary life.
His more recent works, including Ein fliehendes pferd (1978; Runaway Horse) and Das Schwanenhaus (1980; The Swan Villa), while still retaining critical commentary on German society, have expanded in thematic content to include Walser's growing preoccupation with the difficulty of differentiating between truth and fiction, memory and reality, and language and experience.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 57-60 and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 8.)
T. C. Worsley
German writer Martin Walser, takes a sharply satirical view of the mentality of his people [in his play "The Rabbit Race"].
The first half is a pretty broad swipe at the home-front Nazis as the war ends in 1945. Their chief anxiety is to find a formula by which they can save both their own town and their own skins from the advance of the Allies.
However, in the second half the town's simpleton emerges as the chief figure of the play. His Communism had earned him a spell in a concentration camp under the Nazis and there he had been both indoctrinated with the party philosophy, and unmanned in a medical experiment, for which he had volunteered.
Now that peace reigns in 1950 and the Nazis have returned to civilian life, this simpleton had become the town's pet….
But the town pet suddenly becomes the town pest when, at a local ceremony celebrating the peaceful spirit of the new Germany, he makes the unpardonable gaffe of spouting Nazi philosophies and praising the Führer. He is hustled off hastily to the asylum.
It takes the psychiatrists 10 years to undoctrinate him. By the time he comes out it is 1960 and the wretched creature fails to fit in once again, for now it is he who is talking pacifism while the rest of his country is busy rearming. And it's the asylum again for him.
T. C. Worsley, "Satire on Germans Given at...
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In The Rabbit Race Martin Walser has constructed a pageant of German hypocrisy during and after the Nazi era. (p. 231)
Mr. Walser … has something strong and genuine to say; he … might say it with more force in fewer words. It does occur to me that the heavy hammer-blows in which the Message is battered home may be a matter of national rhythm, and that this play, designed to rend the complacency of German audiences, might well have needed its grim ponderous pace in that context. But to a British audience—or any non-German audience—which takes so much of that particular Message for granted (we too are complacent in this) the lesson hardly needs so many verses. (p. 232)
Clifford Hanley, "Big Deals," in The Spectator (© 1963 by The Spectator; reprinted by permission of The Spectator), Vol. 211, No. 7052, August 23, 1963, pp. 231-32.∗
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The Times Literary Supplement
In his earlier novels, short stories and plays Herr Martin Walser was preoccupied with social criticism, though the vehemence of that criticism sometimes suggested that his real quarrel was not so much with the west Germany of the Wirtschaftswunder, or indeed with any specific social and economic set-up, as with the depravity and conformism of anybody, anywhere, who was prepared to play the power game. His novels Ehen in Philippsburg [Marriage in Philippsburg] (1957) and Halbzeit [Half Time] (1960) were powerful and brilliant in parts, but they were less satisfactory as works of art than some of the short stories in his first book, Ein Flugzeug über dem Haus .
In many respects Herr Walser's new novel [Das Einhorn (The Unicorn)] is even more ambitious than its two predecessors. The hero and narrator, Anselm Kristlein, has been taken over from Halbzeit, just as Beumann has been taken over from Ehen in Philippsburg; but the main emphasis has been shifted from social satire to a number of themes that are closer to Herr Walser's dominant concerns….
The analysis of love, of different varieties of love, is only one of the themes that hold this book together. The unicorn of the title is symbolic not only of the erotically questing male, but also of the outsider—among other things. Kristlein's exploration of love is organically related to his social status and his...
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Rudolf Walter Leonhardt
After the tightly constructed Ehen in Philippsburg and the amorphous, arbitrary Halbzeit, Das Einhorn comes as a happy combination of freedom and self-control. (p. 54)
Walser's "Unicorn" can be seen as a challenge to the Proustian attempt to regain the past through recollection: a dismal way to have again what was lost, Anselm Kristlein, the hero, muses in mockery of himself. Memory is the electricity of the brain, it is accidental, it is—nothing.
Anselm Kristlein, whom some readers will remember as the traveling salesman of "Half-Time," is lying in bed and remembering. This is what the book is about. What happens then—and a great deal does happen—must always be referred back to Anselm Kristlein in bed: a bedtime story, if you like….
The story originates from the commission by a Swiss lady publisher to aspiring-writer Kristlein to delineate precisely the act of love, and so rescue love from the clutches of the sexologists. His assignment is to depict love as it really is, without, however, losing its special quality. The lady believes in this special quality; Kristlein does not.
So Anselm begins—with his memories…. And although we learn a great deal about life in high society, about panel shows, about new impediments to writing the truth—love has not appeared…. (pp. 54-5)
Then an event occurs which shatters the comfortable, ironic pose...
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Donald F. Nelson
Martin Walser is a curious example of a contemporary novelist who, despite more than a decade of prolific writing, has failed to gain appreciable recognition from Germany's literary critics…. There are two aspects of Walser's work that appear to disturb critics most: his apparent lack of concern for plot and for integration of detail into a unified whole, and his failure to present anything like a constructive alternative to the hypercritical and devastating picture he paints of postwar German society. With regard to the latter, it is true that Walser has not arrived at a synthesis of satire and the vision of a positive moral philosophy which has contributed in large measure to Heinrich Böll's success. But a criticism leveled at the lack of architecture in Walser's works which, from the point of view of traditional poetic theory, is their most vulnerable aspect, fails to do justice to the author, inasmuch as it overlooks the real literary merit of the work: the unity of style and subject….
[Walser] shapes language into an apt idiom for his principal theme—the breakdown of social communication and the depersonalization of human behavior—and also for the undifferentiated character of the world he depicts. My focus is on the way language is used to express a particular quality of experience and perception. My observations are restricted to two prose works: Die Ehen in Philippsburg and Halbzeit. The breakdown of...
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Gertrud Bauer Pickar
Walser's first novel, Ehen in Philippsburg, is often dismissed as the work of a novice and generally passed over in discussions of his other novels, Halbzeit and Das Einhorn. The reason for its exclusion is the apparent lack of similarity of this initial novel to his later works: it is narrated continually in the third person singular; there is no interplay of fictional levels which in subsequent novels is related to the use of the first person; the portrayal of character and plot lacks the complexity and ambiguity of the later works. Closer examination, however, reveals that features which are dominant in the other two novels are prefigured in Philippsburg. This work contains tentative indications of techniques which are to become characteristic of the following novels and incorporates devices which later reappear in variant forms.
This is true of the literary features related to narrative perspective to be discussed here: first, the use of fictional levels; second, the narration in first, second, and third person; third, the multiple personality, and fourth, the formularization of time. These features of Walser's three novels will be considered in this study, and an attempt will be made to evaluate the impact of their individual development upon the form and nature of the works.
Although Philippsburg, as noted above, lacks an interplay of fictional levels, it does exhibit narrative...
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Diether H. Haenicke
Martin Walser's … novels mirror German society of the fifties and early sixties. Marriage in Philippsburg (1957) is a conventionally narrated novel depicting the social climb of a young man into the "high society" of a small German city. Half Time (1960) and The Unicorn (1966) are more cutting in their critique of the conditions in prosperous postwar Germany. In style essentially more complicated, they show Walser's obvious effort to pattern his hero, at least to some extent, after himself. Both novels have the same protagonist, Anselm Kristlein, who in Half Time, thanks to his gift of articulation, reaches the position of public relations manager for a large concern and obtains entry into the upper echelon of society. Here Walser especially attacks verbal clichés, as well as the hollowness of the roles most people play. In Unicorn Kristlein has become a writer commissioned by a woman publisher to write a work of non-fiction on love. Walser's critique of social conditions continues in this novel and focuses, in the form of a parody, on the bureaucratic aspects of literary life. He describes the futile attempt to write a factual book about love. Walser's novels tend to be structurally somewhat weak; his great literary talent is to be found in the realm of detailed description. (p. 393)
Diether H. Haenicke, "Literature Since 1933," in The Challenge of German Literature,...
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The Times Literary Supplement
Josef Georg Gallistl [the protagonist of Die Gallistl'sche Krankheit] will doubtless attain a certain fame as the literary representation of the runner doomed to bring up the tail in the West German rat-race. His account of his "disease" is a triumph for Martin Walser's gifts as a humorist: a very amusing, rather sad book about the competitiveness that has run wild in West German society since 1945, and the opposing urge to transcend it and get together, which has had all too little opportunity of expressing itself in the conditions of the Federal Republic.
G. is the seventh and least member of a group of friends living in Wiesbaden. His professional character remains uncertain to the last; but the others are an architect (A.), a bank manager (B.), a chemist (C.), a writer (D.), a cor anglais-player (E.), and a television executive (F.). They are bound to each other by sturdy mutual dislike, and by the need of each to assure himself of his social identity. Their pecking order follows the alphabet, so that G. is full of envy and hatred of the others, as impotent to impress or please them as he is to hold down a job, or get his writing published in the world at large.
Weighed down by the completeness of his failure, G. begins to withdraw, and in doing so observes that a baulked craving for success bedevils the lives of A., B., C., D., E. and F. no less than his own. "Gallistl's disease", he finds, is endemic. For...
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The Times Literary Supplement
Der Sturz is the third novel in a trilogy centred on the figure of Anselm Kristlein. It is full of allusions to the earlier Halbzeit and to a lesser extent, Das Einhorn; and both characters and events are very like those of the previous novels. The big difference is that Der Sturz is pervaded by a strong odour of decay and putrefaction….
In many respects, this novel is complementary to Halbzeit. There, Kristlein was a climber struggling to reach the pinnacle of fashionable society, here he is seen slithering down the same social slope he had previously ascended. The important thing is to know whether, as Walser claims, Kristlein's fate can be blamed on the social conditions prevailing in the Federal Republic. German reviewers of Der Sturz have varied between accepting Walser's own thesis and claiming that the root of Kristlein's problems is not social but purely individual….
These reservations need not, however, invalidate Der Sturz as a book about the fortunes of the individual in West German society. The two themes Walser identifies, the burden of having to earn money and the total dependence of the employee, are valid ones. The book is most successful in its juxtaposition of the fate of the employee, who waits, usually in vain, for some kind of recognition from those above him, and the life of the successful, who are compensated at every turn by a sense of...
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G. B. Pickar
The dramas and radio plays of Martin Walser range in nature from the epic Eiche und Angora to the conversational Zimmerschlacht…. Though they differ in the degree of political commitment and social criticism they embody and display striking diversity in subject, format and mood, they frequently share a common feature: the use of symbols as a structural element. In each case, the symbols are thoroughly integrated into the thematic framework of the drama and provide a supporting structure for its presentation.
Key images are frequently indicated by the title, as Walser's drama Eiche und Angora illustrates. In this drama, the words 'Eiche' and 'Angora' refer to concrete elements in the work with specific and important roles and reflect two of the themes fundamental to the drama's conceptual design….
In his choice of the oak ['Eiche'], Walser employs accepted connotations to facilitate the understanding of thematic content and to project his drama's message, and the characters themselves indicate an awareness of the traditional role of the oak as the embodiment of the Germanic. (p. 186)
The idea of racism anticipated in the references to oak and forest is more fully presented in references to the Angora rabbits, the second element of the title. Unlike the oak, the validity and the ramifications of the Angora rabbits as a symbol are dependent upon their employment within the drama...
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The dramatist who has possibly been most aware of the legacy of Brecht is Martin Walser—at least in his early plays. Parallel with these plays, he evolved a theory of the theatre, which was a clear response to Brecht. Whilst respecting Brecht's achievement, he no longer considered Brecht's methods as suitable for portraying the changed social and political situation, pointing out, for instance, that Mother Courage would probably not offend most armaments manufacturers. Walser formulated what he called 'Realismus X', a realism that would avoid Brechtian parables without just being a reproduction of external reality. A mixture of symbolism and realism would reveal what lay hidden beneath the surface of reality. After Der Abstecher [The Detour], which tends towards the theatre of the absurd, Walser sought to apply his theories in what he called a German chronicle, of which, however, only two of the three planned parts were completed.
The first play Eiche und Angora (The Rabbit Race …) seeks to compare different reactions to the changes in German society that took place between 1945 and 1960…. It is through these events that Walser seeks to show the development of German society, in particular the continuing power of the bourgeoisie. He is also at pains to show that character is largely a product of circumstance, that adaptability is a prime human quality. The Nazi is no longer a daemonic figure but, in many...
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The case of Franz Horn and the chronically clenched teeth that are its symptom result, as Walser demonstrates in this bestselling novel [Jenseits der Liebe], from a compounding of pressures: the pressure to succeed in the economic-miracle society (familiar from his Kristlein trilogy) and the psychological pressures—the sense of self-doubt, inferiority and guilt—of failing within that society.
Horn, an average man of forty-four, has spent seventeen years working, suppressing everything else for the success of a denture company. But recently his usefulness to the firm has begun to decline…. Yet even as he now willfully neglects his business obligations, he acquiesces—with almost malicious relish—in his society's values and thus convinces himself of his monstrous worthlessness.
Kafka connoisseur that he is, Walser has Horn reach this conviction via truly Kafkaesque casuistry. Moreover, from the very beginning—strikingly like Gregor Samsa's awakening, with Franz Horn waking up to find his teeth clenched beyond his control—to Horn's final view of himself as monstrous, the novel appears a contemporary "Metamorphosis." But Horn's fate may be worse: he seems condemned to live on, isolated and superfluous, beyond love. Perhaps such literary similarities are all too predominant, given too the dental motif shared with Grass's Local Anaesthetic. And perhaps the dehumanizing effects, the artificialities...
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Gerald A. Fetz
Martin Walser, like many in his generation of German writers, concerned himself in his early works primarily with the problem of confronting and attempting to come to terms with the immediate German past. By confronting his readers with that unpleasant and unfortunate past, he attempted to cure the sudden case of amnesia which was an all too common reaction among Germans to that past. In all of his subsequent works as well one finds Walser to be a writer with a keen sense for society's—particularly West Germany's—illusions, problems, weaknesses and injustices. His main characters are rarely granted a great deal of sympathy, and he is especially critical of those who abuse power and of those who are either so blind or so subservient that such abuse becomes not only possible, but virtually inevitable. Walser is a writer who is committed to progressive social change, but, unlike Brecht, for example, he is a writer with no specific program to bring about such changes. That fact lends a note of pessimism, even resignation, to Walser's works, but it also, perhaps, is what makes him a realist.
Walser's eighth and latest play, Das Sauspiel (which, when literally but inadequately translated, is The Swinegame), was written five years after his seventh play, Ein Kinderspiel. The time between these two plays is significant since Das Sauspiel displays a distinct shift in style, a new theme (it is the first historical...
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K. S. Parkes
Martin Walser has often been accused by his detractors of writing novels without form and plays without plot. It is therefore surprising that he should now for the first time write a novella [Ein fliehendes Pferd], the genre which, as all students of German literature know, demands a single narrative marked by an extraordinary incident. The extraordinary incident is that the staid middle-aged schoolmaster Helmut Halm causes his old school and university friend Klaus Buch to fall from his yacht and apparently drown during a sailing trip on Lake Constance….
The story … contrasts two attitudes to middle age. Yet both men, like the horse of the title, are seeking to escape. Helmut is clearly afraid of the demands of life, while Klaus's youthfulness is only a fasçade that covers up a deep insecurity…. There is none of Walser's sometimes strident criticism of West German society in this work. At the same time, the events do reflect the pressures of life in what he sees as an over-competitive society.
K. S. Parkes, "Competition Corner," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1978; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 3994, October 20, 1978, p. 1236.
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The fleeing horse, the Boccaccian falcon of Walser's Novelle, is the expressive image for the frantic blind rush of escape in which the … two main characters [of Ein fliehendes Pferd] are caught up. Middle-aged when they meet again, the school acquaintances Helmut Halm and Klaus Buch have spent the years seeking to elude the constricting forces of contemporary society, though in entirely opposite ways. Halm has withdrawn into himself, building a fortress of fat, as he sees it, from within which he can anticipate the perfect inertia of death. Buch meanwhile has entered a high-speed race for life in his hyperactive pursuit of health and youth.
More or less enviously, each man admires the other's seeming success—Buch Halm's apparent calm intellectual acceptance of life, and Halm Buch's energetic physical engagement in it. It is at this point of opposition that one of the many elements of parody comes to bring the Novelle to its traditional turning point. Just as Halm has been very taken with Buch's young (second) wife, his own wife has of course become somewhat infatuated with Buch. But unlike Goethe's, these elective affinities do not come to reaction—precisely because of Halm's awareness of them….
[The] book ends essentially where it began—with a repetition of its first sentence.
So things stay the same: the society which forces the individual to live only on the run,...
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Noel L. Thomas
Perhaps all writers of German fiction should be compelled to write Novellen. Or perhaps only after a period of apprenticeship in the Novelle should German authors be allowed a sortie into the realm of the novel. Martin Walser seems to have got the procedure the wrong way round. After almost twenty years in the wilderness of the novel Martin Walser has at long last produced a Novelle of almost classical dimensions [Ein fliehendes Pferd]….
In the novel Das Einhorn … the unicorn runs away with the author, though in accordance with tradition it does find refuge in a number of ladies; in Ein fliehendes Pferd the author (or at least one of the characters) captures the horse. Das Einhorn is a tremendous imaginative extravaganza and the reader is enormously impressed and fascinated by the author's fertile inventiveness and linguistic élan. Yet the gulf between reality and fantasy is on occasions so great that the reader sometimes finds himself wandering, stunned, in a no-man's land, bereft of orientation. The characters to whom the narrator, Anselm Kristlein, introduces us are characters around whom he weaves a web of amorous adventure, though they do exist, in terms of the novel, on the fringe of his fantasy or they are characters, such as Orli, who are merely creatures of his fertile exuberance. The narrative does not rivet the attention of the reader. All is subordinate to the...
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C. D. Innes
Like Dürrenmatt, Walser took Brecht's parables as his starting point, but instead of analysing social structures in general terms to convince an audience of the need for political action (Brecht) or to challenge them to imagine a more rational world (Dürrenmatt), his aim is to create a state of self-awareness through recognition. Reality is defined by perception, not by objective fact, and in his novels details of everyday life are presented through the protagonists' vision, existing only as components of a stream of consciousness. This worm's eye or key-hole perspective, accumulating minutae to portray the mentality of a representative figure—ironically named Kristlein, petty Christ, in Half Time (Halbzeit) and The Unicorn (Das Einhorn)—is not possible on the stage, and in his plays Walser replaces it with an openly symbolic world. In Rabbit Race this is deliberately crude. The oak around which the action takes place stands for typically Prussian virtues. Inhabited by crows and a solitary nightingale (the castrasted Alois), Germany is a Choral Society. The ground defended in 1945 is an area of historic graves. These are all clichés from the popular imagination, and the extreme naturalism of the setting parodies the fake idyllicism of German Gemütlichkeit—real trees and bushes on a hillock, which in the original Berlin production was built on a revolve and turned to show different vistas as the characters moved...
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"Seelenarbeit" is the self-help the doctor prescribes for Xaver Zürn's stomach pains, which for lack of physical causes he must diagnose as psychosomatic. For Zürn's symptoms, much like Franz Horn's "lockjaw" in Jenseits der Liebe …, result from the pressures of conforming his self to the role precast for him by those Fates of the modern world, socioeconomic forces….
Though he has retained only the buildings of the old family farm, leaving his brother the land, Zürn is at bottom still a farmer, unhappy with any ties but those to the land. Yet now he finds himself perennially moving about, chauffeuring a rich industrialist and Mozart fanatic around the European economic community. (p. 97)
The ending, like much of the story, has something of the air of resignation, that proverbially quiet desperation, so palpably fixed in that earlier case of the world's ineluctable role-casting power, Max Frisch's Stiller. Yet just as there, in Seelenarbeit too, that air is made less oppressive by a generous admixture of wrily humorous elements: along with the comically laconic side of Zürn's portrait, there are numerous satiric cameos such as those of his two daughters, who complement one another in their "hip" extremes. And though the whole may seem less sharply critical than some earlier Walser, his sparklingly fresh and crisply ironic style remains at its bracing best. (p. 98)
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G. P. Butler
Runaway Horse ends as it began: in answer to Sabina's question "What really happened …?", Helmut starts to tell the tale we have just read. It is told very cleverly, a far richer, subtler, wittier story than any brief synopsis can hope to show. Its appeal derives not only from Walser's singular ability to state and suggest what people think and feel, not only from the memorably elusive character of "HH" and his particular predicament suddenly one summer, but also from the sadness it engenders. To be afforded "no enlightenment" makes a nice change; to be left to reflect on why the Halms and the Buchs have become who they are, and on what lies ahead of them, makes for melancholy—unless you can disown them altogether.
G. P. Butler, "The Secrets of H H," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1980; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 4035, July 25, 1980, p. 836.
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Gone are the days when Martin Walser had fundamental doubts about West German society, and gingerly explored the claims of communism to offer a better life for the common man. So much is clear from his latest novel [Das Schwanenhaus], a humorous account of the professional and family tribulations of a reasonably well-to-do estate agent. In spite of the fact that his tribulations include the pregnancy of one of his unmarried daughters and an unnerving capacity for running up large debts, the sense of social stability and bourgeois good-living is such that the atmosphere of the book is a kind of late twentieth-century Biedermeier.
It is once again the story of a man barely able to cope with the demands of either his job or of his family, floundering through life, dependent on the indulgence of colleagues and the support of his wife. But in this case the hero's inadequacy is scarcely painful, and is accompanied by many material compensations. In fact he is not really the failure who played the central role in Walser's earlier novels, the failure who was at the same time a rebel against materialism and the leistungsprinzip, but an easy-going fellow who knows how to appreciate his niche in life.
As a result Das Schwanenhaus has much less to say that is of relevance to the human condition in general. It lacks the poignancy of humorous writing in which there is an underlying theme of tragedy. Readers of...
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For several decades, German novelist Walser has formed his dark notions of contemporary German society into novels of quiet sarcasm…. [The Swan Villa] satirizes a group of real estate brokers in Southern Germany. The beautiful natural surroundings, the wealth, the worldly opportunities of all protagonists stand in contrast to a progressive deterioration of environment and soul…. In spite of a colorful story line and much emoting, none of the characters ever amounts to more than an array of desperate attitudes and uncoordinated hunches. The reader becomes informed and remains untouched.
Inge Judd, in a review of "The Swan Villa," in Library Journal (reprinted from Library Journal, October 1, 1982; published by R. R. Bowker Co. (a Xerox company); copyright © 1982 by Xerox Corporation), Vol. 107, No. 17, October 1, 1982, p. 1897.
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Gottlieb Zürn, the hero of this brief but brilliant novel ["The Swan Villa"], is a product of the German economic miracle, a lawyer who switched to real estate and rode the postwar boom to moderate affluence. Having done his bit to help develop the once grassy slopes of Lake Constance into high-rise condominiums, now in midlife he feels depressingly underdeveloped himself, obsolete and disposable, a banal character trapped in a banal dilemma. All Martin Walser does, in limpid prose and with the sure touch of a compassionate surgeon, is to bare the man's heart and trace the pathways of his pain. But in the process he evokes a life in our time, distinct from any other and yet subject to the same laws of supply and excessive demand that govern the lives of the multinational middle class throughout today's global village….
Mr. Walser, though awarded the Group 47 Prize in 1955, proved wayward and disconcerting from the start. For one thing, he had no ties to the nostalgic radicalism of the 20's that still infected so many of his contemporaries. For another, he came to literature via Kafka, on whom he wrote a first-rate dissertation in 1951 after completing his studies in history and German literature. The Kafka influence is all too obvious in his early stories, but it may have helped to inspire the uncompromising clarity and attention to detail with which he later began to probe the nexus between private agony and public nightmare. He...
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Martin Walser's protagonist [in The Swan Villa] is an estate agent, and the eponymous Swan Villa an exquisite property on the shores of Lake Constance, admired in childhood and now up for sale. Which of the rival dealers will be favoured with an exclusive listing? Gottlieb is haunted by the beauty of the frescoes and stained glass, by the prospect of the commission, by the memory of his bankrupt parents, by the urge to impress clients, patrons and competitors, and by the wish to see his four wayward daughters safely provided for….
Harassed by conflicting impulses, he envies his wife's calm consistency of purpose and resents her with an intensity that is the obverse of gratitude, a measure of his own dependence on her. As Gottlieb hangs upon the outcome of business strategy and market forces, alternating between ambition and self-abasement, a solid picture of a society in crisis emerges from the turmoil of his thoughts. The Swan Villa embodies with rare percipience and topicality a complex living relationship between love and money.
Marion Glastonbury, "Charmed Circle," in New Statesman (© 1983 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. 105, No. 2712, March 11, 1983, p. 27.∗
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