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Mirtis Romoje (Trilogy of Failure)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  200 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Romane "Mirtis Romoje" žymus vokiečių rašytojas V. Kepenas su didele menine jėga parodo vokiečius, net prabėgus visai eilei metų po karo tebeslegiamus Hitlerio viešpatavimo laikotarpio palikimo. Vieni iš jų - aukos, kiti - nusikaltėliai, treti - vilkai avies kailyje, ketvirti - kerštingi vaiduokliai, sėjantys mirtį. Tikrai visapusiškai puikus ir gilus romanas, parašytas so ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published 1977 by Vaga (first published 1954)
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Dec 10, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, german, music
In retrospect, it should be obvious, of course. I cannot explain why it took me 100 pages to get it. Dotage, maybe. I mean, is there any other famous novel which includes death and some Italian city in its title? Lemmethinklemmethinklemmethink.......

Yes, 42 years and two world wars after Thomas Mann sent Gustav von Aschenbach to Venice in search of beauty in the form of a young Polish boy, Wolgang Koeppen sends a whole German family to Rome. The Judejahns and Pfaffraths, linked by marriage and h
Jun 25, 2013 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the sleepless city
Recommended to Mariel by: a dead man walking through the dead city
But could I? Could I even cope with my own life? And then I thought: If Adolf and I can't cope with life, then we should at least unite against those unscrupulous people who want to rule because they are unimaginative, against the real Pfaffraths, the real Judejahns, the real Klingspors, and perhaps we could change Germany. But even as I was thinking that, it already seemed to me that Germany was past changing, that one could only change oneself, and everyone had to do that for him or herself,
Mar 23, 2013 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a rule I attempt to distance my reviews from the personal. Certainly anecdotes thrive in this context. It is the more central experiences and principles which I make every effort to keep to myself. I'm afraid i can't do such this time. My friend J who I have worked with for 20 years died this past week. This has been one of the worst times of my adult life. I once went on a trip with J to Rome. It was around this time that I acquired this novel. For the life of me, I can't remember if it was ...more
Lee Foust
Feb 28, 2015 Lee Foust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Another novel I read in order to write about it in my column in Florence News and Events and English-language monthly paper here in the boot.

The Greatest Novel You’ve Never Heard of

First published in 1954, German novelist and travel-writer Wolfgang Koeppen’s Death in Rome is a little-known treasure well worth seeking out. I was drawn to it because of its Rome setting, as fodder for this column, but realized before I had finished reading the very first page that I had found something very, very s
Sep 18, 2015 [P] rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a reputation in my family for being cold and difficult to be around. I don’t, the consensus is, ‘make any effort’ with them. And that is true. I really don’t. Don’t get me wrong, family can be a wonderful thing, if it is a safe and strong and nurturing unit; but I realised at a very young age that the idea of being tied to a bunch of people you have nothing in common with, who are, moreover, unpleasant human beings, is absurd. Recently my mother has become involved with her sister again. ...more
Friederike Knabe
Wolfgang Koeppen's 'Death in Rome' is a profound and thought-provoking novel written in the mid-fifties. While set against the backdrop of Rome, the main theme is a portrayal of the early after-war German society. It is a remarkable book for several reasons. When first published, it was either criticized or, more commonly, ignored only to be praised a few years later by some of Germany's great authors such as Grass and Boll. Death in Rome was the third book of a trilogy, written by Koeppen in qu ...more
Wolfgang Koeppen is one of the least well known literary giants of the twentieth century. While his output consists of only five novels they all are at least minor masterpieces and his final novel, Death in Rome, ranks as a major one. In this spare novel Koeppen creates a vision of the German postwar experience that is at once bleak and devastating. The four main characters of the novel meet in Rome and in small pieces of their thoughts and their lives the anxiety and sordidness of their world i ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A beautifully written 1954 novel whose characters, members of an extended German family, gather in Rome after the end of World War II. They are archetypes of German society and the German "soul;" the most repugnant, Gottlieb Judejahn, is a former SS general traveling under an assumed name, arranging arms deals for an army he is assembling in the desert. He misses the killing and wishes he could have done more to exterminate the Jews. His wife Eva is in permanent mourning (for Hitler and the deat ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I hardly know how to rate this. Can a book that has Death in the title be "enjoyed" 5 stars worth? I won't soon forget this, surely that qualifies it. Michael Hoffman, translator, says in his introduction: Death in Rome is the most devastating novel about the Germans that I have ever read, and one of the most arresting on any subject. It most certainly is a compelling read, both for content and for style.

As to content, there are primarily four male individuals which make up a family - two each
Oct 07, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
This deserves to be called a classic, as well as ahead of its time. It is perhaps allegorical to a fault, but its characters represent a Germany still inextricable from its (then recent) Nazi past. The four principals are foremost German "types": the unrepentant Nazi, Gottlieb Judejahn; his brother-in-law Friedrich Wilhelm Pfaffrath, the careerist who maneuvers to stay on the side that is winning; their respective sons Adolf Judejahn, on the verge of becoming a priest; and Siegfried Pfaffrath, a ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 20, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘I do believe, but what I believe is the futility of everything.’

Death in Rome recounts a family reunion, of two generations of an extended German family, in post-war Rome. The present day events of the novel take place over a two day period, mostly at night. The four primary characters are Siegfried Pfaffrath, his father Friederich, his uncle Gottlieb Judejahn and Judejahn’s son Adolf. The story is told in a mix of first person (Siegfried) and third person. But who are these characters, and wha
Feb 28, 2016 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
28 FEB 2016 - recommended by GRAmazon because I am reading Michael Kohlhaas. Also spied on Bettie's TBR.
Roger Brunyate

Why is this author almost unknown in this country? This novel from 1954 is a compact masterpiece, a lurid but fascinating dance of death that anatomizes the German psyche in the decade following the Second World War. Its setting is Rome in the early 1950s, evoked in a brilliant collage of sights, sounds, tastes and smells. Into this, with the choreographed contrivance of artistic licence, Koeppen brings together several members of a German family, scattered by hatred or exile since 19
Since I am studying German literature I had to read this for a project. This book is pretty good for a classic. Interesting and not too dense. I have to be honest though, I didn't read the last twenty pages because I know what happens in the end and because I had a deadline.
Mar 05, 2014 AnnaKarenina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Koeppen and I go way back. I tried several time to read his master piece Tauben im Gras but never made it through but after this book I am keen to finally finish it. There are not many people who can quote thomas mann in their book. he can. a must read book in my opnion.
4.5 stars (I've bumped it up from the initial 4 because I can't stop thinking about it).

Despite its short length, I expected this to be a slow, dense, rather difficult read. It is "dense," I suppose, in the literary styling: free-flowing paragraphs, constantly-switching point of views, rich descriptions and devastating emotions (I kept thinking of Bruno Schulz in this regard, though his stories are quite different in nature and much more abstract). But ultimately I found this book to be neither
George-Icaros Babassakis
Sep 22, 2014 George-Icaros Babassakis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"...fabulous flowering of Modernist prose techniques, hypnotizing in its streams of interior monologues, thought-based rhythmic repetitions, and musically minded meanderings..."

Τι καλύτερο !
Cooper Renner
Jan 20, 2011 Cooper Renner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again masterful. If slightly less impressive, that may be simply because I have already read the first two and am less likely to be surprised or impressed by Koeppen's power.
Aug 28, 2015 Jaap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thelist, fiction, german
Interesting early literary study of the way Germans deal with their recent past. Stylistically very atypical of German mid-century literature in that it plays with long long sentences, with quick-fire sequences of thoughts, repetitions, sudden shifts of perspective (shifting from first-person to third-person), reminiscent of Joyce and such like.

Using some covert historical hints, it can be established that the novel is set in early May 1954 (and was published in that same year, so it was fresh
Edwin Priest
Death is Rome is a little known, powerful masterpiece that evokes the ethos and pathos of post-WWII Germany in a brilliant and poignant piece of literature.

On the surface we see a family reunion of sorts in post-war Rome. The four main characters come together in a swirling tango, describing in a social microcosm the complex angst and guilt of the four pillars of broken Germany: the military, seen in the stiff and disturbing character of the ex SS general Gotlieb Judejahn; the spiritual, seen in
Death in Rome - Wolfgang Koeppen

This is an extraordinary book, devastating, but also remarkable. Published just nine years after the fall of the third Reich, it is a carefully considered examination of the “collective amnesia” which enveloped the German people following the war and allowed them to forget their past, absolve their guilt, and move on with their lives.

We see this as it plays out in the lives of two families related by marriage, but estranged for many years by the war. For diffe
Jan 13, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Koeppen seems to be somewhat forgotten ... or overlooked. I suppose you could call him a contemporary of Gunther Grass, though if I'm not mistaken his life reaches back a little further (to Wiemar) and terminates a little sooner. This book, as well as his other supposedly great book (Hothouse - which I haven't read) were written over a short period of time during Germany's economic miracle. You could call this an allegorical look into the German heart/soul/brain/body through the lives of a four ...more
Apr 28, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book! Pure literature I scarcely have the chance to enjoy. Excellent translation and preface
Feb 18, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The shades of a blighted German family creep through their self-made hells in the shadows of post-war Rome. Koeppen is pitiless and his powerful, angry writing propel this book to something great. Thanks "1001 Books…" for another great discovery.
Bill Keefe
Apr 07, 2010 Bill Keefe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a world-class work of art. I was a bit taken aback in the beginning, the text being so thick, so intense; sentences that pound on until you really see the meaning; jarring descriptions of the archetypal german characters; the book grabs you and doesn't let you go easily or quietly. Reading mostly contemporary works, I had forgotten what it was like to read writers from this period. The end was a bit abrupt, a bit under-described, given the style of the rest of the book but overall it wa ...more
Jun 19, 2011 Aeisele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is an incredible look at post WWII Germans - former Nazis, opportunities, and those who rebelled. It is about a family - one man a former SS general, his brother the opportunist city leader, back in power; the SS general's son, who's become a priest; and the city leader's son, a composer. These characters meet in Rome, and we see the thoughts and emotions of people trying to figure out what to do after the Third Reich. It's a disturbing portrayal of what evil has wrought, and the fact that ...more
Jerry Peace
Mar 14, 2015 Jerry Peace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A creepily great book.
Alvin Rc
Sep 15, 2012 Alvin Rc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The literary style the authored used in this book, whatever that was, really worked. It really is a devastating novel about post-Hitler Germany. I felt every character's angst, despise and false hopes. The plot was simply amazing.

It's not for no reason that the author, Wolfgang Goethe, had been praised as Heinrich Boll's and Gunter Grass's equals. Herman Hesse lauded him. All these three men were Nobel Prize winners and they're all Germans.
Jul 29, 2009 Trina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rome-italy
This short, intense novel reminded me of post-war Japanese novels-- relatively simple plots and characters, but everything stands for something. The 6 characters, Germans in Rome in the 50s, are metaphors for the conflict and desperation of Germany after World War 2. I loved the setting, and the references to Mann's Death in Venice, with confused and dissolute protagonists.
Mark Broadhead
Tries too hard, and fails. It doesn't feel like Rome because everyone that is anyone is German in this version of the eternal city. And it didn't matter that it was Rome, apart from the need to reference Thomas Mann.
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Wolfgang Arthur Reinhold Koeppen (June 23, 1906 – March 15, 1996) was a German novelist and one of the best known German authors of the post-war period.

He started as a journalist. In 1934 his first novel appeared while he was in the Netherlands. In 1947, Koeppen received a book contract to rewrite the memoirs of the philatelist and Holocaust survivor Jakob Littner (born 1883 in Budapest, died 195
More about Wolfgang Koeppen...

Other Books in the Series

Trilogy of Failure (3 books)
  • Tauben im Gras
  • The Hothouse

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“The horse had a fly-net over its head and ears. It looked down on the paving-stones with the empty disappointed expression of an old moral theologian. Whenever the guide spat between his shoes, the horse shook his head in disapproval.” 3 likes
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