308 words on SZ Bibliothek
Another book from the SZ-Bibliothek series: Marguerite Yourcenar’s Der Fangschuß, which is Le Coup the grâce in the French original as well as in the English translation. It’s quite a short one and I didn’t particularly like it.
The book’s story happens around the end of the first World War in the civil war in the Baltic countries. The main protagonist is Erich, a German officer who stays with his friend Konrad and Konrad’s sister Sophie at their place during some military actions between the ‘red’ and ‘white’ forces. While Erich and Sophie like each other, Erich manages to prevent them coming together. Justifying this with his friendship to her brother and many other ‘arguments’. And making her suffer dearly that way.
… but that’s not why I didn’t like the book all that much. And neither is the fact that it is a book about a German (male) soldier in the Baltics at the end of the first world war, written by a Belgian/French (female) author shortly before the second world war started. Instead, I’m generally not a big fan of ‘historical’ novels, so I didn’t like the setting too much. And I’m not sure the setting is all that important as – while it’s said to be quite authentic – ;most of the drama in the novel happens between the people themselves rather than the backdrop of history it’s situated in.
I also thought, the novel, wasn’t exactly top notch. Not badly written. But not all that memorable either. Sometimes I wonder whether books were selected for the series by virtue of having been turned into a film, so they can put a shot of that film on the book cover…
Grausamkeit is ein Luxus für Müßiggänger, wie Rauschgifte und seidene Hemden.