Die Rote
book — Germany — 1960

After finishing reading the second book by this writer I`m becoming more and more convinced that this Andersch was a very good writer indeed despite the fact that he`s virtually unknown in the part of the world where I come from. "Die Rote" is mostly told through the perspective of its main hero - a woman named Franziska that has just left her husband (or was it a lover) Herbert and her lover (who most certainly wasn`t a husband) Joachim. She flees from Milan where she was last with Herbert, she doesn`t have too much money and she ends up in Venice where she tries to start a new life. That doesn`t seem simple at all since she only has a few days before the money runs out and she may be pregnant (although there`s no certainty about it). Parallel to the life of Franziska we encounter an old seaman and a middleaged Italian violion player who once participated in the Spanish civil war and doesn`t have much to dream about. Franziska`s senseless existence doesn`t last long - only until she meets O`Malley - an Irish fellow who was meant to be a British spy in Germany during WW2 but was persuaded by a certain inspector Kramer to switch sides. Now, long after the was O`Malley still is planning to have his revenge upon Kramer for he has taken the most dear thing for an Englishman - O`Malley will never be a gentleman again after he`s done what he`s done. Still Kramer doesn`t take O`Malley seriously for he doesn`t believe that the Irishman has the guts to kill him. Only when he meets Franziska, now a more grieve enemy to him, he becomes suspicious for her being able to give him away to the German police (for nazi war criminals aren`t particulary at that time). In the end O`Malley poisons Kramer and leaves Franziska on her own (which is no surprise since he`s gay), although he had promised her to take her as a companion on a long voyage on see. What happens next, is not described, and who would expect anything else from a typical postmodern novel? Stylistically the books switches all the time between direct speech and actions of the characters on one side, and their thoughts on the other. I liked it, and it only means that it`s most likely not the last book by Andersch I`ll ever read.
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