Group Portrait with Böll – Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll | Episode 021

December 4, 2015

Based on Patrick’s recommendation, Infinite Gestation covers Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Böll, with a (mostly) civil discussion. The work showcases Böll at the height of his craft (the novel was cited when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1972) and may even lead one to conclude that Böll is indeed post war Germany’s “literary therapist.” Many times deemed experimental, the plot consists of the life of Leni Pfeiffer (the woman) written with journalistic flair by a fictional author using interviews with her family, friends and acquaintances to build the narrative alongside his own observations. Despite the setting (Germany, just prior to World War I and on into the 1970’s) there is no shortage of humor in the novel, including posters of human anatomy used as apartment decor and a nun who divines the health of school girls by examining their feces. In the end, the novel comes highly recommended.

Spoiler warning: Grant reveals the end of The Train Was On Time.

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