Selected Stories of Siegfried Lenz

Siegfried Lenz, Author, Breon Mitchell, Editor New Directions Publishing Corporation $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1105-5
West German writer Lenz's best stories rank with those of Gunter Grass. He uses satire, parable, folk tale, allegory and psychosocial realism to penetrate postwar German consciousness and to expose human foibles. In ``An Acceptable Level of Pain,'' an army general who is investigating whether prisoner-interrogation methods are too harsh becomes a victim of his own experiment. In ``Waves of Lake Balaton,'' waves of mutual incomprehension and mistrust surface when a brother and sister--one from West Germany, one from East--reunite with their spouses at a Hungarian resort hotel. The humor swings from gently ironic to sharp-edged, political (``The Dictator's Son''), to wacky (``Doctor Fun''), gruesome (``A Very Pleasant Funeral'') or plain hilarious (``The Village Poetess''). Lenz ( The German Lesson ) explores such themes as intolerance, the regimentation of life, mortality and German postwar guilt. Though often inconclusive or ambivalent, these 26 enjoyable and disquieting tales showcase a natural storyteller and a master stylist. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 225 pages - 978-0-8101-1314-5
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