Thursday, March 07, 2013
review: The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll
This story follows the sad case of Katharina Blum who makes the mistake of falling for a young man that is wanted by the police. She doesn't spend that much time with him but when the press get to hear about it she becomes the villain of the piece.
The story around her takes on its own ever expanding proportions with her labelled as a communist, whore and her relationship with the man taken into the realms of fantasy as the newspaper writers write what they want about her.
Her life starts to crumble and the previous hard working and respectable existence that she had worked so hard to develop is pulled apart by damaging headlines and tabloid lies. Ultimately she resorts to something rather desperate and as a reader you are left knowing why she did it and even going as far as to sympathise with her actions.
The tragedy is of course that if you want to get back at the press you play into their hands by becoming the sort of person that they have been portraying you as. Losing control gives them even more material.
This story is a sobering one because it shows how dangerous lies can become when they were presented as fact. when you are caught in the middle of the nightmare as Katharina is then it must be a nightmare. A nightmare quite brilliantly pulled together by Boll.