SPECULATIONS ABOUT JAKOB by Uwe Johnson

SPECULATIONS ABOUT JAKOB

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Uwe Johnson with Heinrich Boll and Guenter Grass have already received considerable attention abroad, as significant figures in the new postwar German literary generation. All three are experimental writers, if variously so, and concerned with the social and political identity of Germany today which cannot be divorced from her past. Johnson is the winner of last year's International Publishers Prize; he is the most difficult writer of the three, using, as he does, many devices, abstractions and symbols. His books, chiefly fragmentary, are written through a succession of internal monologues although he is not concerned with the inner man, but rather with the visible, verifiable facts of existence in the two Germanys. His central character here is Jakob, a railroad dispatcher, and the trains which go back and forth from East to West are the symbol of the interchange. The actual story, which is negligible, shifts from Jakob, to his half -sister Gesine, their father, Gesine's intellectual lover, and the omnipresent Soviet agent- Herr Rohlfs- shadowing them all ever since Jakob's mother has gone to the West. The book is notable for the mood it establishes- the furtive, watchful, deathly stillness; its neutral, noncommittal tone of voice; and its montage of the two worlds within one. However, in terms of the general reader, Speculations is speculative.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1963
ISBN: 0156847191
Publisher: Grove