The Clown
Heinrich Böll

The face of a clown is the face of innocence, and innocence goes to the wall in German society after the Second World War, when double-dealing and double standards have become a way of life. Heinrich Böll's clown is a professional entertainer in his late twenties who has reached the end of his tether: an unhappy drunk abandoned by the women he loves, too honest and disillusioned to compromise, he sits in his lonely flat and calls for help or consolation of any kind. For this is a study in hypocrisy - emotional, sexual, religious and political - where the majority are smugly blinkered and the rest are caught in a trap they fail to understand, let alone escape.

'An unusually distinguished and marshalled novel' Observer

'Böll writes with great concentration and control, and the book is very finely done.' Punch

'The kind of writer that it is imossible not to respect. In his work he wrote with compassion about the underdog – the child, the dreamer, the private soldier – and in his public life as a distinguished man of letters he spoke for the persecuted everywhere.' Sunday Times

Heinrich Böll was born in 1917, and after the war devoted himself to writing. He won a succession of German literary prizes, including the Critic's Prize in 1953, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972. He died in 1985. Two more books by Böll: Billiards at Half Past Nine and Absent Without Leave are available from Marion Boyars Publishers.

Price: £7.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0-7145-0168-9
Publication date: August 2002