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The Clown

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  21,733 ratings  ·  1,401 reviews
Acclaimed entertainer Hans Schnier collapses when his beloved Marie leaves him because he won’t marry her within the Catholic Church. The desertion triggers a searing re-examination of his life—the loss of his sister during the war, the demands of his millionaire father and the hypocrisies of his mother, who first fought to “save” Germany from the Jews, then worked for “re ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 1st 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1963)
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Farzaneh منم موافقم،کتاب پر از اسم بود،اونقد از اسامی زیادی اسم برده بود که من وقتی دوباره اون اسامی رو میدیدم یادم نمیومد کی بوده این ادم!
اختلاف کاتولیک و پرو…more
منم موافقم،کتاب پر از اسم بود،اونقد از اسامی زیادی اسم برده بود که من وقتی دوباره اون اسامی رو میدیدم یادم نمیومد کی بوده این ادم!
اختلاف کاتولیک و پروتستان و .. هم که کلا واسه ماها ناشناخته ست!!

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ansichten Eines Clowns. c1963 = Opinions of a Clown = The Clown, Heinrich Böll

The Clown is a 1963 novel, by German writer Heinrich Böll.

Hans Schnier is the "Clown" of the novel's title. He is twenty-seven years old, from a very wealthy family. At the beginning of the story he arrives in Bonn, Germany. As a clown, he had to travel across the country from city to city to perform as an artist.

He always sees himself an artist. His home is in Bonn, so he has to stay in hotels when he is not in Bonn
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: german-language
The Era of Prostitution

Hans, the clown in question, is a petulant, socially awkward, articulate, but persistently sarcastic figure who identifies with both the Germanic Siegfried and the Jewish Christ. Although Protestant, he knows more about Catholic ritual and attitudes than most Catholics. He abhors clerics and their rituals when they pretend to more than aesthetic importance

Hans is an artist who lives for the aesthetics of his craft, which is grounded in the observation of the details of eve
“What kind of a human being are you?”
“I am a clown, and I collect moments!”

“I collect moments …” - Hans is an exceptional human being. He is completely subjective in every single action and emotion. He refuses to accept standards and norms that are forced upon him by the establishment, and he always follows his own heart and ethical values.

That spells trouble in the environment of corporate mentality where he grows up.

As a child, he witnesses the collective thinking of his privileged family
Vit Babenco
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Clown is a story of an outsider and although the novel is satirical it is sad.
“I don’t trust Catholics,” I said, “because they take advantage of you.”
“And Protestants?” he asked with a laugh.
“I loathe the way they fumble around with their consciences.”
“And atheists?” He was still laughing.
“They bore me because all they ever talk about is God.”
“Then what are you?”
“I am a clown,” I said…

Sanctimony of clerics, hypocrisy of politicians: everybody attempts to make believe that there was no past…
Luca Ambrosino
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

«It was dark by the time I reached Bonn, and I forced myself not to succumb to the series of mechanical actions which had taken hold of me in five years of traveling back and forth: down the station steps, up the station steps, put down my suitcase, take my ticket out of my coat pocket, pick up my suitcase, hand in my ticket, cross over to the newsstand, buy the evening papers, go outside, and signal for a taxi. Almost every day for five years I had left for somewhe
The novel “Ansichten eines Clowns” by Heinrich Böll tells a story about a clown who is concerned about his life because he failed at work and in his private life in the eye of society. The book is very interesting and it portrays the point of view of a poor, desperate young man looking for a way out of the chaos in his life.
Böll has a critical view on society, wealth and poverty, religion, people and politics. The author is a master in uncovering hidden facts about the society. All in all, a lo
Steven Godin
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: germany, fiction
Böll's 1963 novel The Clown, with the main themes being that of love and Catholicism, examines in detail the human condition and the hypocrisy of contemporary German society in repressing memory of the historical past in order to concentrate on material reconstruction. In the book the figure of narrator Hans Schnier (the clown) represents the social conscience of German post-war reality, and through conversations Hans has with those who represent various segments of the community, Böll presents ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf (semi reviewing hiatus )
This one is ideal to show the overestimation of the classic, upper literature, especially if it is mixed with patriotism and this idealization of "our" author who is treated like a national sanctuary. Yes, a long time ago there weren´t many authors, but one must differentiate between the ones that sold many great books because they were talented and loved by a huge audience and those who got hyped by the decadent establishment and so-called intellectuals. Böll is no bad author, but this work is ...more
Jim Fonseca
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: german-authors
Translated from the German, the basic plot is that our protagonist is a high-class clown - he doesn't do circuses and children's parties, but union meetings and corporate events. One of his best stichts, he tells us, is "The Board Room." Our protagonist is also an alcoholic and snotty rich youth who appears to be rebelling against mom and dad by wooing a Catholic girl. But he eventually "loses her to Catholics" - his words. He doesn't see that his own self-center alcoholic butt might be part of ...more
the clown invites us into a few hours of the life of one hans schneir, clown by profession, curmudgeon by temperament. after our drunken atheist clown (with the uncanny ability to smell people through the phoneline) refuses to convert to catholicism, the love o' his life high-tails it the hell outta there for some dull-as-dirt churchgoer. heartbroken, pfennigless, drunk, jobless, and with a knee swollen to the size of a grapefruit, hans takes out his misery and anger the way we all do: inappropr ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if this book depressed me or if I am just, like, chemically depressed or perhaps depressed depressed or if I seriously just need to change out of this rediculous black shirt and put on a tie dye or something. I guess that's a messed up way to try and say how much I loved Heinrich Boll's The Clown, but I feel like a clown right now... I say stupid things, things I immediately regret. I hurt other people. I hurt myself. Senselessly. I wish I could just paint my face and do a few turns ...more

I must take the path I must take.

Hans Schnier, the titular character in Heinrich Böll’s ‘The Clown,’ might be the most self-consumed clown I’ve ever met. Not that I’ve met a lot of clowns mind you, because ever since It, clowns really creep me out. Thanks for ruining clowns for me, King; I’ll never be the same again...

Hans is more of a Chaplin-type clown, not a silly circus clown. He is an ARTISTE! And he won’t for a minute let you think otherwise. From a very wealthy background, he falls in lov
Hans Schnier is a clown on the way down.
I need to let my impressions settle with this one.

1. 'That would be enough to carry me through the twenty-two years I still still had to go till I reach the gutter.'

Somehow, The Clown is an account of the brutish life some of us may live, trying to fill up the void.
No moral compass, ni bearings, no boundary between public life and private life (rituals, formal habits, without inherent value but their mind-numbing properties?).
This is life lived through sh
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020

What I do best are the absurdities of daily life: I observe, add up these observations, increase them to the nth degree and draw the square root from them, but with a different factor from the one I increased them by.

Hans Schnier is not asking much from life: to be allowed to love Marie, to marry her, to have children and to grow old together. To be able to express himself through his pantomime art, inspiring and entertaining his audience. He hopes for respect from his parents, quality time w
Greg Brozeit
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you have to wonder why certain writers are honored with a Nobel Prize. After reading this book, it is no mystery to me why Heinrich Böll was distinguished with the award. It is an utterly spellbinding story delving into themes of religion (an enlightened agnostic who struggles with the consequences of his friends’ and family’s faith), accountability (how many Germans escaped their Nazi pasts and reinvented themselves), love (is marriage necessarily a standard by which it can be measure ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Set in the post-war years, The Clown is an intense, vibrant picture of what life under Hitler's reign was like.
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Germany in 1950 as nationalistic as in 1930?

The clown is a novel by Nobel price winner Heinrich Böll and tells about a man who looses the marriage to his wife and the connection to himself in the post war time of the 50s and 60s in the former nationalistic Germany.

The protagonist Mr. Schnier turns his back to the traditions of his family, which just starts to benefit of the economic bursts after the war and has history of participating in the nationalistic regime. Instead of turning to politics
João Fernandes
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, nobel
Heinrich Böll, winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Literature, once said that the only topics that were interesting for him to write were love and religion.

The Clown follows Hans Schnier, a depressed, fallen out of grace, broke clown, as he makes a series of phone calls to his acquaintances and relatives in an attempt to get some money and learn about his ex-girl friend, Marie. Marie, a Catholic, left Hans not only because of their ideological differences but because her religious beliefs made he
Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want the Zeitgeist of the FDR before reunification
Recommended to Czarny by: An ehthusiastic librarian
This is a very powerful book by an author who attracted a lot of attention in the West for praising the Bader Meinhof Gang in public. This was not a publicity stunt; Boll who was a great artist and an even greater idiot really meant what he said.

This is unpleasant, hate-filled diatribe against the prosperous and self-satisfied FDR. The main character has the same problem as Gunter Grass's little Oskar. He is incapable of fitting into the new Post War Germany.

When I was travelling through Europe
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 20, 2016 rated it liked it
A clown (his father a millionaire) tries to put his life back together amid the postwar landscape of WW II ravaged Germany. His relationship to friends and family are challenged as he comes to understand that some questions are beyond the ability of the individual to answer - if everyone ignores you - but maybe that is the only answer anyone wants to hear.
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels-german
Though I adored Billiards and Group Picture, I didn't like this one much at all. It was claustrophobic and joyless in the extreme, felt dated, engages in a polemic on issues that leave me utterly cold (Christianity in Postwar Germany), and lacks the lively *humanitas* of Böll's other work. I would not advice people starting with Böll to start here.
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
I always had a dislike against clowns, maybe that's why i'd been avoiding this book for such a long time until my brother recommended it to me really enthusiastically, and i was surprised to find the main character one of the most moving i've recently encountered. Heinrich Schnier is the typical outcast, a melancholic clown who's got the terrible gift to see throuth people's falseness and pompous the beginning i was a little bit surprised to find catholics the main targe ...more
Martin Yankov
This was really, really good. One of the saddest books I’ve ever read, a truly melancholic novel, filled with strange humor that makes you laugh and cry at the same time.

Heinrich Böll takes the popular trope of the sad clown and uses it to tell a captivating story about a lonely man, longing for the girlfriend who left him. It’s a story about the hypocrisy of the world we live in – religious, social, moral and all other kinds of hypocrisy. It’s set in a post-World War II times, and the main cha
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ex-catholics, fans of 20th century geman lit, lovers of salinger?
Boll questions the validity, the affect and at times exposes the absurdity of catholicism, capitalism and various societal conventions in western society through the simple observations and doubts of the main character; a heart-broken and struggling clown with a certain fatalist attitude.

Taking place in post-Nazi Germany during the reconstruction period, The Clown weaves together a cynical sarcasm and societal critiques through an emotional and tragic story. The suspicions and questions raised
John Hatley
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the first works by Heinrich Böll that I read, and it left a lasting impression on me. It is the reason I have since read some 15 more of his titles and still have half a dozen more on my want-to-read list.
Böll's language is so descriptive of and sensitive to the feelings of his characters that his fiction becomes reality for the reader.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of Heinrich Boell's better-known works is this 1963 novel about an embittered, satirical clown who despises postwar Germany for its hypocrisy and empty materialism. Insightful and well worth reading either in this translation or in the original title, Ansichten eines Clowns.
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rescued an ancient paperback version from our basement during a recent flood. My husband (the philosophy major) had picked it up for "fun" reading sometime after college as he was exploring what he called "existentialist" writing. I guess it could be considered Camus or Sartre territory, but my immediate impression of the hero-antihero was of a slightly older version of Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye."

"The Clown" is a 20-something frustrated performer in post-WW
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. I found it insightful, beautifully drawn, witty and very moving. And structurally really interesting - built mainly around a series of phone calls (which, considering how hard it is to write good dialogue, I find pretty impressive). Wish I could read German, as even in translation you get a sense of a lovely lucid style - will definitely seek out more Boll.
Fatemeh sherafati
i think that the first character was very different from a normal person.. he was something like supernatural when he imagine marry withe her toothpaste , or when he was speaking on the phone, he always imagine the person s situations :) that was good.. i think i will read it once more again :)
robin friedman
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Tears Of A Clown

This book captures magnificently the feeling of being down and out and rootless. It is set specifically in post World War II Germany and describes well what surely were the feelings of many. But the sense of loss, alienation, lack of love, religious doubt set forth in the book go much deeper than that.

The book is told first person by its hero, a clown, Hans Schneir, who has enjoyed some success but has fallen to the state of pennilessness and drink after abandonment by his lo
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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. 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 characterization h ...more

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