THE FINAL BALL by Gerd Gaiser


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This is the fourth novel by a young German writer who would be considered one of post-war Germany's Angry Young Men. Sharing the attitudes of this group, which is highly critical of the new prosperity, this novel sets out to expose the corruption and sham which permeates the town of Neu-Spuhl. Told from the viewpoints of six characters this is an account of the dismal events which led up to two deaths on the night of the high school's graduation dance. The main narrator, Soldner, a temporary teacher, finds himself in the position of watcher, able to observe the greed and inexorable guilt which is slowly and poisonously working toward the climax which occurs at the end of the school term. Powerless to interfere, Soldner can only complain finally, when it is too late, that his generation has no identity and that to want to know what purpose one is serving is too large a claim to make on ultimate enlightenment. Full of murky intimations, over-laden with symbolism, the novel -- in spite of its manifestation of nimble virtuosity -- remains unengaging.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1959
Publisher: Pantheon