The Safety Net

10 best books like The Safety Net (Heinrich Böll): Simplicissimus, The Glass Bees, Berlin Stories, Indian Summer, Worstward Ho, The Stechlin, Anton Reiser, Green Henry, The Hothouse, Pavel's Letters

AuthorHans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen
This gaudy, wild, and raw tale of a war-torn 17th Century Europe depicts Simplicissimus as the eternal innocent, the simple-minded survivor. We follow him from an orphaned childhood to the casual atrocities of occupying troops, through his own soldiering adventures, and up to his final vocation...
The Glass Bees
AuthorErnst Jünger
In The Glass Bees the celebrated German writer Ernst Jünger presents a disconcerting vision of the future. Zapparoni, a brilliant businessman, has turned his advanced understanding of technology and his strategic command of the information and entertainment industries into a discrete form of...
AuthorRobert Walser
A New York Review Books Original

In 1905 the young Swiss writer Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to join his older brother Karl, already an important stage-set designer, and immediately threw himself into the vibrant social and cultural life of the city. Berlin Stories collects his alternately...
AuthorAdalbert Stifter
This is one of Stifter's great epic works, a most sensitive account of the formative years in the life of Heinrich, a student of natural sciences, born into a bourgeois environment, but influenced and gently guided by a nobleman, the old Baron von Risach. It is in fact the baron's own reminiscences which...
AuthorSamuel Beckett
Beckett's second last prose text, Worstward Ho, is a novella written in 1983, shortly after the largely autobiographical Company and an ironic theological speculation, both previously published as the first two parts of a late trilogy of short novels. The concentration of language and precision...
AuthorTheodor Fontane
Theodor Fontane (1819-98), widely regarded as Germany's most significant novelist between Goethe and Thomas Mann, pioneered the German novel of manners and upper-class society, following a trend in European fiction of the period. The Stechlin is Fontane's last book and his political testament....
AuthorKarl Philipp Moritz
Well received in its own day and all but forgotten in the last century, Anton Reiser (1785) has regained in our times the popular attention it richly merits. Subtitled a "psychological novel" by its author, who also called it a biography, the work is actually a highly authentic autobiography. The work...
AuthorGottfried Keller
"Green Henry" is a vivid and absorbing representation of Gottfried Keller's ideals and philosophy, written in poetic language and a realistic style that documents the emergence of an artist and the development of a man. Partly autobiographical, the narrative recounts the experiences of the title...
AuthorWolfgang Koeppen
Brilliant. Four-and-a-half stars. How I subcutaneously shivered with each recognition of a Keetenheuve who was me and/or that from within me which constituted a part of Keetenheuve: solipsistic self-absorption resonating in the Key of I Minor, the ego as it's shown inside the other. No matter the...
AuthorMonika Maron
Teasing her family's past out of the fog of oblivion and lies, one of Germany's greatest writers asks about the secrets families keep, about the fortitude of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and about what becomes of the individual mind when the powers that be turn against it.

AuthorBertolt Brecht
Brecht's only novel is, of course, based on his own Threepenny Opera, which was itself based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Set in Victorian London, the novel feels similar to Dickens in many ways, but written with a very dry humour and none of the sentimentality. The plot mostly involves the extremely...
AuthorHeinrich Mann
Der vorliegende Roman gilt neben Heinrich Manns Werk "Die kleine Stadt" als eine der besten Schöpfungen aus der Frühzeit des Dichters. Er erschien erstmalig im Jahre 1905 und schildert die makabre Geschichte eines professoralen Gymnasiastenschrecks, einer Spießerexistenz, die in später...
AuthorUwe Johnson
Die Johnson-Forschung befindet sich seit jeher in einem Dilemma: Kaum ein Schriftsteller muss so hart darum kämpfen, dass seine fiktionale Prosa nicht gleichsam durch die ihr immanente Faktizität erdrückt wird. Eifrige Indiziensucher spüren Orte und Namen in Mecklenburg auf, wandeln auf...
AuthorUwe Timm
The Invention of Curried Sausage is an ingenious, revealing, and delightful novel about the invention of a popular German sidewalk food. Uwe Timm has heard claims that currywurst first appeared in Berlin in the 1950s, but he seems to recall having eaten it much earlier, as a boy in his native Hamburg,...
The Young Man
AuthorBotho Strauß
The writings of Botho Strauss examine the tension between the individual and society in the anonymity of the contemporary world. A theater director, playwright, and writer, Strauss broke with Berlin's leftist intellectual milieu in the late 1970s and turned to more personal topics; the result,...
Patterns of Childhood
AuthorChrista Wolf
I cried while reading this novel. Tears just kept flowing silently, and there was nothing I could do about it.

If you want to know what totalitarian states do to children, this novel will tell you, - without sentimentality, without blame or anger, without self-pity.

For all those emotions...
The Parable Of The Blind
AuthorGert Hofmann
Inspired by Parabel der Blinden (1568), a painting by Netherlandish artist Pieter Bruegel, the novel tells the story of the work's creation from the point of view of the six blind men depicted in the painting. The story is recounted in the present tense, first person plural. The "we" that comprises the...
From the Diary of a Snail
AuthorGünter Grass
This publisher Vintage UK's blurb about this book:

'Probably the most autobiographical of his novels, From The Diary Of A Snail was first published in 1972. It balances the agonising history of the persecuted Danzig Jews with an account of Grass's political campaigning with Willy Brandt....
AuthorHermann Hesse
Rosshalde is the classic story of a man torn between obligations to his family and his longing for a spiritual fulfillment that can only be found outside the confines of conventional society.Johann Veraguth, a wealthy, successful artist, is estranged from his wife and stifled by the unhappy union....
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