Absolutely loved this. Short, fascinating, tragic, lovely and charming. Works on a number of levels which is summed up excellently in the afterword.

Your reading activity
Dates 06 November 2012 – 09 November 2012
Time spent reading 2 hours, 55 minutes
Highlights 13
Comments 1
Used app Readmill

His best-known novels include Billiards at Half-Past Nine (1959), The Clown (1963), Group Portrait with Lady (1971), and The Safety Net (1979). In 1981 he published a memoir, What’s to Become of the Boy? or: Something to Do with Books.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I shall try to remember to read them in this order!

Soon can mean in one second, Soon can mean in one year. Soon is a terrible word.

I could spend hours watching her pour my coffee; if only the mug had a hole, if only she would pour and pour,

sad eyes the color of sand dark with rain

The john was the only place where you could be really alone.

“Any man who doesn’t eat bread is a hopeless case, I tell you. Yes.…”

It’s a terrible thing to maltreat a person because that person seems ugly to you. There are no ugly people.

You must drink wine with your meal, it’s wonderful.

He could see that now, it was a narrow, cramped slot of a mouth, a mouth that was only interested in money, a moneybox mouth.

I took it so much for granted that a man should come to the breakfast table with a thick head and in a foul temper that later on, when I got to know other men, fathers of my friends, it seemed to me they weren’t men at all.

To any reader who has journeyed about even a trifle within the Böllian oeuvre, Andreas will be familiar: inconspicuous, cautious, sufficiently attractive and compliant to earn preferential treatment, but far from trustful that whatever moderately good luck comes his way will lead to any great future.

All of Böll’s novels are about the war. The Train Was on Time takes up a middle distance between us and the terrifying, hideous horror of violent death.

Part of the achievement of this book is that it makes me, at least for a moment, want to believe in it, not for my sake but for Andreas’s; and all the while Böll reminds me that it is ridiculously false.