This is Jurek Becker`s most highly acclaimed work, and not without a reason. Jakob is a Jew in a gheto close to a small village in Poland who accidentally hears over a German radio that the Soviet army is but a few hundred kilometres away. When telling these news to other jews he knows that he would need to tell how exactly he heard the news, but that he can`t do - `cos it was in a German institution where he amazingly escaped death but he knew that the jews wouldn`t think that he was saved just for nothing. Anyhow he tells that he got a radio hidden at his place and that it`s where he got news from. And after that little lie he starts providing imaginary news to the jews everyday, in this way keeping them alive and hoping. But it`s not that easy for himself, for Jakob is no hero, and many times he`s close to giving himself in. What happens in the end is not really clear - the author provides two versions - in one of which the Soviet army comes fast enough to save the jews, while in the other case - it doesn`t. This book reminded me of the film "The Pianist" by Roman Polanski, only in a less pathetic manner.
When I went to my favourite "Goethe" library I took 3 books with me to read at home, like I always do. What I didn`t know then was that more than 50% of those books were written by Jews, about Jews and about Holocaust. If it were not the case I`d probably choose a subject more merry than this one. By the way, I haven`t even looked at the third book yet, so theoretically a chance exists that it`s also about Holocaust. I hope it isn`t. But to be sure I`ll check it just now. Hoorray! No Jews mentioned! Now that`s a good thing. Still "The Boxer" ain`t no half-bad book. Jurek Becker is surely one of the most interesting personalities among the German speaking writers whom I`ve discovered by going to this library. This is a story of a guy named Aron Blank who`s family hasn`t survived the holocaust, but he has. After the war he finds one of his children who happens to be also alive, although after years in a concentration camp he doesn`t know anything about anything. Still Aron manages to put his life back on the trail and to survive in the modern world. I can`t say that I liked this book because of the content, for there was little likeable in it, but Becker`s writing style is such that you just can`t dislike it. Even when writing about the most grieve subject he never ever goes overboard and stays normal - which is a rare case for subjects like the Holocaust.
What makes days sleepless? If you are waking at the day, why should you worry that you don`t sleep at the time? Or are you some nasty pervert who works at night but still can`t sleep at day? This novel tells us about a teacher named Simrock who suddenly feels some pain in the heart while he`s teaching his students at school. When he comes home and tells it to his wife Ruth, she doesn`t treat that as a big problem. After that he decides that he has been living his life in the wrong way (btw., he`s a partly orthodox communist in East Germany). He leaves his wife having realised that there`s no love left between them - only routine is left. After that he finds himself a brand new lover Antonia. While he has his summer vacation he takes a job at a bread factory and even finds a friend there. Together with Antonia he goes to Hungary, from which she tries to flee to Austria, but unsuccessfuly. The book left a good impression on me, it was interesting to read and even had some nice ideas in it.
I was surprised to find out that I had previously read three and not two novels by Jurek Becker (I had completely forgotten that "Sleepless Nights" was also one of his works). And I was even more surprised to read (on this very website) that I had liked all three of them. And as all previous entries on this writer are in English it seemed impolite to write in Latvian this one (not that it made any difference anyhow).