Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Silent Angel” as Want to Read:
The Silent Angel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Silent Angel

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Two outstanding stories of war in a single volume, from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature: the short story "A Soldier's Legacy" and The Silent Angel, Boll's haunting first novel.

"Staggering in its intensity and evocation of despair and shock. an occasion for renewing our appreciation for Boll's genius" — Booklist

"Terrifically on target with its series of tragic,
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Cassell Military Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Silent Angel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Silent Angel

The Metamorphosis by Franz KafkaThe Trial by Franz KafkaAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarquePerfume by Patrick SüskindFaust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Best German/Austrian Literature
203rd out of 569 books — 515 voters
Catch-22 by Joseph HellerAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut1984 by George OrwellCandide by Voltaire
Absurdity of War
56th out of 69 books — 33 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 617)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
(I am currently reading Billiards at Half-Past Nine. I thought that Silent Angel was good, I guess, when I read it - because the topic was of interest to me. But now I see it is merely juvenalia and have lowered my rating (from 4) to 3. Nothing in it prepared me for the mature Böll, which is now overwhelming me.)

Written in 1950, this book was not published until 1992 - 7 years after Heinrich Böll's death. Apparently the nation could not cope with a book of this sort. The reasons for this are wel
Will Byrnes
This was Nobel-prize-winner Boll’s first novel. It was not published when he wrote it in 1950 but in 1992, with an English translation in 1994. Boll had mined the work for use in later works.

Hans, a deserter from the German army at the end of World War II, returns to his home town. He is delivering a dead soldier’s coat to his widow. The will that is sewn into its lining is central to the core of the story. The dead soldier had been well off and his family would rather not face having to share
As noted by W. G. Sebald in his book of literary criticism On the Natural History of Destruction, Heinrich Böll's The Silent Angel was one of only a handful of postwar novels that depicted the aftermath of intensive carpet bombing leveled against Germany in the second world war. Though written early in Böll's career, the novel was not published in his lifetime due to the subject matter that was perceived by his publisher as unpalatable to the German public. Isn't it inappropriate to dwell on a t ...more
یه رمان هاینریش بلی. رمان جز اولین کارهای هاینریش بل هست اما سال‌ها بعد از به شهرت رسیدن بل به چاپ رسیده. قصه این بار از روز اعلام آتش‌بس جنگ جهانی دوم شروع میشه. دغدغه‌های بل همون دغدغه‌های همیشگی هست، اما با رنگ و بوی انتقادی کمتر. قهرمان این رمان هم در جستجوی «نان» هست. هانس این رمان هم با نهاد کلیسا و نظام ازدواج سنتی مشکل داره، اما هنوز به اندازه‌ی دلقک عصیان‌کار و سازش‌ناپذیر نیست.
رمان تا فصل دهم عالی پیش میره، اما از فصل یازدهم به بعد به شدت افت می‌کنه و خرده روایت‌ها لای چرخ‌دنده‌ی ریتم
Before Caroline and Lizzy's German Literature Month Heinrich Böll was an author I was aware of but hadn't really considered trying. When it comes to German Literature I have to admit my reading has been somewhat patchy tending as I do to pick up mostly American or British writers. So last month was a great way for me to get a little taste of a few German language authors and expand my horizons a bit. Böll's Silent Angel (Der Engel schwieg) was also the choice for Caroline's Literature and War Re ...more
Jun 05, 2008 Ziv rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foks who enjoy slow dark and poetic critiques of WWII from the German perspective.
This was Heinrich Boll's first novel - and was supressed in Germany for 41 years after WWII due to Boll's harsh critique of the war and its aftermath. My personal favorite of Boll's is "The Clown" - which actually includes passages from The Silent Angel in a similar but more finely tuned context. Slow in the first few chapters, it picks up steam and finishes strong. Interesting from a historic perspective, especially as a study in a nobel laureate's development. I suspect readers who select this ...more
Lisa James
This little book sees the end of WW2 from the eyes of a German soldier, & his straightforward descriptions of the hardships of daily life after the war ended are very sad, BUT it is also a love story, which is sweet combined with the times & how tough they were when people lived literally from hand to mouth.

This is a Nobel Prize winning book, & it is such a shame that the author did not live to see it published.
This is a story about the end of WWII from the standpoint of a German soldier, Hans. It is a depressing moving story that is seldom told around the US. I think this was Boll's first novel, although it was published much later. I ran into this literature while trying to find a translation of Jorg Friedrich's "The Fire" about the allied bombing of German cities - it had not been translated yet - not until 2006.
Debbie Tanner
This is one of the most depressing books I've ever read! The topic is post-World War 2 Germany and I mean JUST post. Like the Germans just surrendered and what happens next kind of thing. It's beautifully written (and not too long, thank goodness!) and has a great story line that weaves around and around the characters... it's really brilliant. Sad, but brilliant.
While not his most polished work, The Silent Angel is still one of his most moving. The story really could be set in any country defeated and destroyed by war, but here we are in Germany in May 1945. Hans, a soldier who has deserted at the end of the war, the actual armistice happens in the first couple o days of the book, returns home bearing the scrawled will of a soldier who switched uniforms with Hans in order to die himself and free Hans to return home. Boll does not flinch at observing the ...more
It is strange how few German writers wrote about the condition of the German cities at the end of WWII. There was a sense that this was too horrific to write about. This was the case with The Silent Angel which was published long after it was originally presented to publishers. It was considered "inappropriate" and too shocking...
Just as in "The Clown," which I read in high school and remember as one of my favorite reads, Heinrich Böll astonished me in "The Silent Angel" with his very restrained and powerful style. The architecture of a city in ruin where people are wearily coping with the end of the war comes palpably near.
This slim volume is the Nobel Laureate's first book and was surpressed in Germany for over 40 years. Wehrmacht deserter Hans schnitzler returns to the bombed out ruins of Cologne, his home town, in search of an existance in this achingly sad tale of postwar life.
Ed Smiley
A German post-war novel set in the grim shadow of recent defeat and the collapse of the Nazi regime, it is a small, simple but desperate and urgent book, set among the ruins, that balances dispair and spiritual longing, defeat and hope, death and love.

A story set in post-war Germany like pretty much all of Boll's tales. This one is unique from the other stories I've read in it's focus on love and religion--themes Boll tackles strongly in this book. Definitely one of the best post-war writers out there.
Aug 21, 2008 Jessicarr rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jessicarr by: Andrew Mills
Shelves: fiction
Translated by a scholar from IU; I think Americans have read very little from a German perspective, except perhaps _All Quiet on the Western Front_, this was really a fantastic read into complications after the war and the ambiguity of evil.
German Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll wrote this book and I read it only because I was going to Germany and wanted some good German lit. This book either lost everything in the translation OR it is the German version of "The Stranger".
Angelo Vassallo
Boell with this novel helps us to better and deeply understand the sad situation in Germany immediately after the second world war.
Jill Roberts
It's out of print I believe, but worth picking up a copy on eBay if you can find it. Sad & touching.
Very depressing book taking place in bombed out Germany right after WWII
Beautiful writing.
Aleksandr Voinov
Currently reading. My version only has "The Silent Angel".

I picked up one of Boell's short story collection from (I'm a native German speaker), and found it horrendous. Overwrought, immature and quite shockingly black/white.

Figuring he'd just been "oversold" to me (I never read him in school, we did Frisch and Brecht instead), I kinda skipped him for a long while, but then Sebald, I think, mentioned The Silent Angel, so I gave him another go, figuring not every author can write short
Loved it!
This book reminded me so much of Erich Remarque's A Time to Love and a Time to Die. I was actually surprised by the reasonably happy ending.
It's a remarkably simple, yet beautiful story of the life of an ex-soldier and his lover in post-war Germany and their fears and their dreams, their social alienation and inability to assimilate to their new world.
Though nigh impossible to relate the trauma of war while living in an amazingly stable developed country, it's impressive to find a novel that can
Ahmad Sharabiani
Der Engel schwieg, Heinrich Böll (1917 - 1985)
عنوان: فرشته سکوت کرد؛ نویسنده: هاینریش بول؛ مترجم: سعید فرهودی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نیلا، 1378، در 160 ص، زیرنشر: حمید امجد؛ شابک: 9649175075؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آلمانی قرن 20 م

Toni Miranda
This is an interesting book about life in Germany right after World War II. Life was very difficult for those who survived. Their homes were destroyed or badly damaged; food was scarce; the German soldiers didn't know what to do. It must have been an awful time. It jumps around quite a bit and some parts were boring, but I appreciated the details of that time since I haven't really thought about what life must have been like for the people living in Germany. There were two things I didn't like a ...more
Nádherná kniha. Sáhla jsem po ní ještě na gymplu, po výkladu při hodině češtiny. A opravdu jsem nebyla zklamaná.
Skarbs atgādinājums par to cik nežēlīgs ir karš un cik nožēlojami briesmīgs atgūšanās periods...
Never published during Boll's lifetime because it was considered too much of a downer, he made use of characters and other elements here in his later novels. I think those books were better works--I was just a little too aware of the symbolism in this novel and the sketchiness of the characters.
بهمن بهمن
yek ketabe ziba ba hessi sha'erane az boll ke dar sale 1950 neveshte shodeh,amma ba'd az margesh chap shod.dishab ba inke kheili khaste boodam tamoomesh kardam.adam heifesh miad ke be in shekl naghes moondeh.age roosh kar mishod be nazarm chizi dar hadde aghayede yek dalghak mishod:(heif
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Crabwalk
  • Joseph and His Brothers
  • Tauben im Gras
  • At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities
  • On the Natural History of Destruction
  • The German Lesson
  • The Thirtieth Year: Stories
  • Irretrievable
  • Five Germanys I Have Known
  • The Threepenny Novel
  • Little Man, What Now?
  • Romulus der Große
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • All Souls' Day
Heinrich Böll became a full-time writer at the age of 30. His first novel, Der Zug war pünktlich (The Train Was on Time), was published in 1949. Many other novels, short stories, radio plays and essay collections followed, and in 1972 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterizatio ...more
More about Heinrich Böll...
The Clown The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Billiards at Half-Past Nine Group Portrait with Lady The Train Was on Time

Share This Book