CHILDREN ARE CIVILIANS TOO by Heinrich Boll

CHILDREN ARE CIVILIANS TOO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Most of these stories (they are Boll's earliest--circa 1947-1951), although antedating the collection which appeared in 1966, are very similar in their sketchy form and derivation--mirroring as they do the detritus of the war with a flat, featureless despair. Viz. the title story whose theme is repeated more than once--""You have to go some place even when you're wounded in a strange, black, very dark country."" And even if you have no place to go as in the second story, or the third where a man finds a ""proper profession"" as the target of a professional knife-thrower. In the destruction, both actual and spiritual, survival means little and those who are salvaged are crippled or imprisoned for life, travelling on stretchers or trains, sometimes looking back for some direction finder in the ""infinitely remote past of childhood."" There is only the occasional Kafka touch as so often imputed, say in the man with ""My Sad Face."" The stories may not add any dimension to the established character of Boll's writing, but they provide a collective portrait of casualties dead or alive. Boll's literal, atonal prose is just the right accompaniment.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1969
Publisher: McGraw-Hill