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Ungdomens bröd (1955)

av Heinrich Böll

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3481055,415 (3.59)13
This masterful early work of the Nobel laureate tells the story of one day in the life of Walter Fendrich, a 23-year-old washing machine repairman. Wry, ironic, yet intensely felt, the story is set in post-World War II Germany, amid the growing materialism and spirtual wreckage left behind by the tide of the war. Fendrich, a young man torn by insecurity and despair, obsessed with hunger, finds himself and his world transformed when he becomes involved with the daughter of a high school principal.… (mer)

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» Se även 13 omnämnanden

engelska (8)  katalanska (1)  franska (1)  Alla språk (10)
Visa 1-5 av 10 (nästa | visa alla)
> Ce roman d'amour met en scène deux personnages, dont on ne sait presque rien mais qu'une seule journée porte au faîte de leur destinée. Tout a été vécu dans l'unique instant où Fendrich aperçoit Hedwig sur le quai de la gare. Le reste n'est que l'écume de la vie. --Nuit blanche
  Joop-le-philosophe | Aug 21, 2020 |
Retrata con precisión y sutileza el inicio de dos jóvenes a la vida en una ciudad industrial
  swiltsesa | Feb 18, 2016 |
Walter Fendrich wakes up on a Monday. On his mind are his to-do list: fix washing machines for the clients that he couldn’t get to yesterday, one more who is crying on the phone to this landlady as he lies in bed, dinner with his girlfriend at 6, but before any of this, need to do a favor for his dad and pickup his boss’ daughter from the train station. Simple, right? By the end of the day, he’s determined that he hates his job, money isn’t everything, his girlfriend and her family are heartless scums, and he is madly in love with the girl from the train station and is marrying her, Hedwig Muller. So, what happened?!? ;)

Published in 1955, this novel examines a time in Germany that is healing from war traumas. It is my rare glimpse on the German citizens where they remember the dark days – black markets, ration coupons, air raid shelters, and post-war effects of habitual hoarding, limited housing, and grenade scars on a colleague’s arms – and death, those he remembered and appreciated most. Pain, often hunger pangs, and suffering leave such a physical imprint that it propelled Walter’s actions for seven years before being awaken in this one-day novel.

Heinrich Boll took a very unique approach to express Walter’s day and transformation; everything is quantified via bread, the unit of measure to illustrate comfort, fulfillment, desire, love, care, generosity, greed, and forgiveness. Words of bread made me hungry (reminding me of my own bread-fed college years), stirred hostility in me, and moved me to near tears. The turns of events throughout the day are often accompanied by a tangential side story to give background thus expanding the one day tale into seven years, the total length of time that Walter moved out of his family home since age 16 to be an apprentice. At times these side stories feel distracting as I am eager to learn more of ‘today’; at other times, they gave much needed context. Overall, I’m pleased to have been touched by this book.

Some quotes:
On bread and hunger – desire and yearning:
“I came to know the price of everything – because I could never pay it – when I moved to the city, alone, as an apprentice of sixteen: hunger taught me the prices. The thought of fresh bread put me in a daze, and I would often roam the streets for hours in the evening thinking of nothing but – bread. My eyes smarted, my knees were weak, and I felt something wolfish inside me. Bread. I was addicted to bread…”

On infatuation:
“I was outside of my senses, and I seemed to understand what it means to be outside one’s senses… I was jealous of the ticket collector who briefly touched her hand as she held out her season ticket – jealous of the station floor beneath her feet…”

On ghosts of the past:
“…we had made more money, and good money, by selling on the black market some of the scrap I salvaged, with the aid of a whole crew of workmen, from ruins slated for demolition. Many of the rooms we reach by long ladders had been completely intact… hooks with towels still hanging on them, glass shelves still holding lipstick and razor side by side, bathtubs still full of bath water… with rubber toys still floating in it, toys played with by children before they suffocated in the cellar, and I had gazed into mirrors in which people had looked a few minutes before they died, mirrors in which, filled with rage and disgust, I shattered my own face with a hammer…”

On greed:
“’Examine the payrolls again, payrolls you kept. Read the names again – out loud, reverently, like you’d read a litany – call them out, and after each name say: ‘Forgive us’ – then add up all the names, multiply the number by a thousand loaves of bread – and that result again by a thousand: then you’ll have the number of curses heaped on your father’s bank account. The unit is bread, the bread of those early years, years that lie in my memory as if under a dense fog: that soup that was doled out to us slopped around feebly in our stomachs, it would rise in us, hot and sour, as we rode home in the evening on the swaying streetcar: it was the belch of impotence, and the only pleasure we had was hatred – hatred.”

On unconditional love and unspoken forgiveness – it’s beautiful:
“…I used to steal books from my father to buy myself bread – books he loved, that he had collected, that he’d gone hungry for as a student – books for which he’d paid the price of twenty loaves of bread and I sold for the price of half a loaf… My father had so many, I thought he’d never notice – it was much later that I realized he knows every single one of them as well as a shepherd knows his flock – and one of those books was quite small and shabby, nothing to look at – I sold it for the price of a box of matches – but later I found out it was worth a whole carload of bread. Later my father asked me, blushing as he did so, to leave the selling of his books to him – and he sold them himself, sending me the money, and I bought bread…” ( )
  varwenea | Jan 6, 2016 |
Das Brot der frühen Jahre is an uneventful novella that portrays the hardship of life in post-war Germany, as a constant struggle for food, even the meagre portion of everyday bread. This struggle is described with a certain nostalgia, as it seems to be the only legitimate connection to the past. The novella describes a day in the life of the unnamed main character. On this day, he must arrange to meet Hedwig Muller, a young woman he has known since his early days from his hometown. She forms another legitimate connection to the past. The arrival of Hedwig in his life, marks a turning point of which the earliest moments are indicated in this short novel. The young man awakens to the sense that he must take responsibility and care for another person, no longer hoard money and only live to secure his basic needs, but spend money, for her, on her, even waste money, perhaps.

Das Brot der frühen Jahre, in English The Bread of Those Early Years, is a hopeful novella, about new life, emerging from the darkness. ( )
1 rösta edwinbcn | Feb 7, 2015 |
I definitely need to re-read this one to appreciate all its deeper meanings,, 5 February 2015

This review is from: The Bread of Those Early Years (European classics) (Paperback)
Verified Purchase(What is this?)

One of those books that's seemingly simply written, yet has a lot of deeper meanings, this is one that I immediately felt would benefit from a second reading. It follows one day in the life of a washing-machine repairman in postwar Germany - 'the day Hedwig arrived' - from the moment he gets up, having to fetch a girl whom he's not seen since childhood who's coming to the big city.

Walter talks of his life, through which his main memory seems to be the lack of food rather than the expected thoughts of war. Recollections of wonderful visits to a soup kitchen. And although food is plentiful now, the awareness that those who provide it now were not always so kind:
(in a chocolate shop) 'I tried to imagine what she would have said had I come here seven years ago and asked for some bread - and I saw those eyes get narrower still, hard and dry like those of a goose, and I saw those charming, daintily spread fingers contract like claws, saw that soft manicured hand grow wrinkled and yellow with greed.'

The final paragraph of the book was an utter summing up of what the War must have felt like for the German people. ( )
  starbox | Feb 5, 2015 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (10 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Böll, HeinrichFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Alldridge, JamesRedaktörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Joop, GerhardEfterordmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Joop, GerhardEfterordmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Stalling, VicÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Vennewitz, LeilaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Der Tag, an dem Hedwig kam, war ein Montag, und an diesem Montagmorgen, bevor meine Wirtin mir Vaters Brief unter die Tür schob, hätte ich mir am liebsten die Decke übers Gesicht gezogen, wie ich es früher oft tat, als ich noch im Lehrlingsheim wohnte.
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This masterful early work of the Nobel laureate tells the story of one day in the life of Walter Fendrich, a 23-year-old washing machine repairman. Wry, ironic, yet intensely felt, the story is set in post-World War II Germany, amid the growing materialism and spirtual wreckage left behind by the tide of the war. Fendrich, a young man torn by insecurity and despair, obsessed with hunger, finds himself and his world transformed when he becomes involved with the daughter of a high school principal.

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