Born in 1949 in West Germany, Jurgen SchÃœtrumpf grows up into a life of nearly perfect disaffection, alienation. His father, Adolf, a plumber, is an overbearing, traditional working-man; mother Edith is more meek and even; their marriage has been mostly loveless. Sent to trade school, young Jurgen suffers the average mortifications of sex, family, and his own mediocrity. Later, working for the town's one large plant, his sheet-metal-cutter job is numbing; to compensate, he goes through various stages of private-life artifice: nihilism, bohemianism, foppishness. It's a joyless life overall--yet on a vacation to Sardinia, Jurgen meets Giovanna, a young Communist woman who fascinates him. And when she comes to visit him (chastely) back home in Germany, Jurgen gets passively caught up in a bad knot of sexual/political tension; Giovanna's radicalism runs a direct probe into his family's traditions--a conflict which Jurgen can resolve only by an act of deranged destruction. Written dossier-style and--like much Seventies German art--never cracking a smile, the book is made from an unswerving naturalism. The politics is explicit, often intrusive. And for American readers with an interest in German socio-politics, there's some fiat, documentary-like fascination here--but little more than that.