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Case Histories [a novel]

Alexander Kluge, translated by Leila Vennewitz
Case Histories [a novel]
ISBN: 978-08419-1044-7
1988/203 pages
Distributed for Holmes and Meier Publishers


This book is a powerful introduction to the work of a German writer who possesses both the imaginative vigor of Günter Grass and the humanistic insight of Heinrich Böll. First publisehd in Germany in 1962 under the title Lebensläufe, Case Histories is a collection of eleven stories that recount the lives of various men and women who have somehow lost contact with their humanity and, therefore, their lives. Taken together, these stories offer a picture of the German people between 1933 and the late 1950s—during and immediately following World War II.

As we come to know the characters in these stories—a concentration camp guard, two camp inmates who once were lovers, friends, and relatives gathered at the funeral of an old lesbian—we recognize, as in all good fiction, our contemporaries and ourselves. For beyond all else, Kluge's characters are unavoidably and unmistakably human.


Alexander Kluge, a lawyer by training, is an important figure in contemporary German literature and film.