Breakers

Martin Walser, Author Henry Holt & Company $18.45 (305p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0415-1
English and European novels set in American university communities have become something of a tradition in recent decades as itinerant novelists sojourn here as visiting professors and later go home to tell all. Notable German writer Walser has entered the lists with a feeling, clear-eyed novel of manners, a trenchant commentary on both academia and a contemporary, self-indulgent lifestyle. Helmut Halm, a German scholar in his 50s and a man of wide, general culture is teaching for a semester at a Bay Area university and is greatly taken with the inevitable coedblonde, Porsche-driving, milk-drinking Fran. As much as with Fran, Halm falls in love with California: the eternal sun, the coast and sea, the mellow, laid-back existence. So infatuated is he with its rituals that this repressed Teuton decks himself out in trendy clothes and even undertakes the ordeal of jogging. Life in dark, gloom-ridden, history-freighted, death-haunted Stuttgart is nothing like this. But eventually even here grim realities intrude. Two shocking deaths restore Halm's psychological equilibrium and end the novel on a sobering note. (September 28)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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