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The Mad Dog: Stories

A book by Heinrich Boll

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Powerful, crisp and potent explorations on the many dynamics of war.

  • May 9, 2013
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+5
The ten short stories contained in Heinrich Boll's The Mad Dog offer a sweeping glimpse into the aftereffects of those traumatized by the bloody carnages and mental wounds of war, in this specific case, World War II. Each story evokes an aura of bleakness and despair yet crossed with hope and a trounced upon faith. All the stories are written from a pre or postwar standpont, each exploring the element of postwar poverty, the ruining of human love and the dark side of human nature, which abounds when people are pushed to the limit. Two of the more emotive tales in this collection are "The Fugitive" and "The Tale of Berkovo Bridge". The former tells the story of a runaway soldier, desperate to flee the dark war torn atrocities of his environment, how he takes refuge in a rectory with a priest who just listens before the soldier's inevitable destiny manifests. The latter tale showcases the ingenuity, creativity, helpfulness and determination naturally imbued in man via the construction of the Berkovo Bridge. Though it is a simple story, it is one that shows the best of man. Conversely, the bridge, upon completion, is immediately destroyed by the idiocy of war. Boll's subtle use of symbolism and metaphores in expressly showcasing the black, animalistic impulses inborn in all of us is certainly not lost, for it is tragedy heaped upon tragedy just for the limited clasping of power that was never ours to begin with. All the stories in The Mad Dog are weighty, made so by the gut-wrenching acts that are forced to be performed in the name of survival and politics; they go against the conscienceness of desire. Thus, each story, with its own unique, horrific absurdity, is a caged tragedy for us to learn from.
Powerful, crisp and potent explorations on the many dynamics of war.

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More The Mad Dog: Stories reviews
review by . March 15, 2006
The ten short stories contained in Heinrich Boll's The Mad Dog offer a sweeping glimpse into the aftereffects of those traumatized by the bloody carnages and mental wounds of war, in this specific case, World War II. Each story evokes an aura of bleakness and despair yet crossed with hope and a trounced upon faith. All the stories are written from a pre or postwar standpont, each exploring the element of postwar poverty, the ruining of human love and the dark side of human nature, which abounds …
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Following The Silent Angel (LJ 2/15/94), this worthwhile collection of ten short stories marks the second major publication since Boll's death in 1985. Written between 1938 and 1949, the stories cover territory familiar to readers of Boll's early works: the difficulty of maintaining one's moral integrity during war and its aftermath. "The Tale of Berkovo Bridge" is especially striking in its creation of a symbol for the mindlessness of war and its bureaucracy. While most of the stories here document the writer's ability even as a young man, two of the tales are less successful. "Youth on Fire" is a sincere but narratively clumsy piece of juvenilia that will have limited appeal, and "Paradise Lost," the book's longest work, is weighted down by lengthy and unnecessary description and lacks the sharpness of the shorter works. Buy where Boll's work is of interest.?Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0312167571
ISBN-13: 978-0312167578
Author: Heinrich Boll
Publisher: St Martins Pr

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