|Pigeons on the Grass (1951) [Novel]|
by Wolfgang Koeppen
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(From the publisher):
Wolfgang Koeppen's novel Pigeons on the Grass
is a dawn-to-midnight glimpse of an unnamed city in the American zone of occupation, depicts how and at what cost Germans in the 1950s turned their backs on problems emerging from years of war and the Nazi regime. The book also conveys an uncannily accurate sense of the way in which Germans and Americans perceive themselves and each other.
Koeppen's characters -- for instance, an aging movie star who pursues younger women, two black American soldiers, schoolteachers from Massachusetts, and two writers -- grope toward sources of human warmth, meaning, and happiness. But their impoverished inner lives suggest the failure of economic recovery in postwar Germany to improve the life emotionally and intellectually.
The novel's title, taken from Gertrude Stein's "pigeons on the grass alas," reflects Koeppen's empathy with and condemnation of a society in short supply of everything that elevates human life above the vulnerable, atomistic, directionless and dirty existence of those unlovely urban birds.
Original title: Tauben im Gras
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ European→ Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Fiction→ General Fiction→ Bohemians & Expatriates