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This report is taken from PN Review 63, Volume 15 Number 1, September - October 1988.

Letter from Germany Michael Hulse
In the first part of this up-date on recent fiction in German I commented on work by Patrick Süskind, Dieter Eisfeld, Uwe Timm, Peter Schneider, Michael Krüger, André Kaminski, Peter Hartling and Botho Strauss. With the exception of Kaminski, all of these writers belong to a middle generation, a post-Böll and post-Grass generation, younger than Lenz or Walser, and with somewhat different ideas concerning fiction. Among women writers too it is noticeable that (Christa Wolf excepted) the strongest now working were all born in the 1940s.

In her late seventies, Luise Rinser is far from taking a rest; but her powers are not what they were, and her two most recent books have been disappointing. Ingeborg Drewitz died in November 1986 at the age of sixty-three. From Christa Wolf, who has taken to her role of public conscience with as much clarity and grace as Böll did in his time, there has been no new fiction: instead, a remarkable (and remarkably large) collection of her essays (about which I shall write in a future PNR) and an analysis of the Chernobyl incident. And from Gabriele Wohmann, that other formidably productive observer of human bathos, now in her late fifties, there recently came the huge novel Der Flötenton (Luchterhand 1987), and I confess I found it too bland to persist further than halfway. Wohmann has taken every important literary award in West Germany. She has written novels, stories, radio and television plays, poems and essays for the last thirty years. ...


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