THE THIRD BOOK ABOUT ACHIM by Uwe Johnson

THE THIRD BOOK ABOUT ACHIM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Uwe Johnson, more than with other proponents of German's Gruppe 47, we have the meeting of old guard experimentation (Joycean questions-and-answers, Woolfean interiority) with the nouveau roman interest in the novel as a form of research. Johnson blends these two movements with remarkable, if thoroughly austere, efficiency in The Third Book, another of his dehydrated meditations on the divided Germanys where once again we have the double protagonists: Karsch, a West Berlin journalist writing a forever in-progress biography of Achim, an East Berlin bicycle champion, both dredging through the personal and political past and present, both involved romantically with the same woman, and both struggling toward some unitary truth which remains as discordant and relative as the life around them. The Third Book, with its atmospheric sporting metaphor and descriptive shots of everyday alienation, is better than Two Views but not quite as dramatically spun as Speculations about jakob. In any case, all three raise the same disheartening possibility that the new novelists are the oreticians in disguise.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World