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The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  11,693 ratings  ·  679 reviews
Katharina Blum is pretty, bright, hard-working. After falling in love with a young radical on the run from the police, she is portrayed by the city's leading newspaper as a whore, a communist and an atheist, and becomes the target of anonymous phone calls. Her life ruined by the distortions of a corrupt press, she shoots the offending journalist. . . ...more
Paperback, 141 pages
Published August 11th 1998 by Vintage Classics (first published January 1974)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
(338 From 1001 Books) - Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entsteht und Wohin sie Führen Kann = The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Heinrich Böll

The story deals with the sensationalism of tabloid news and the political climate of panic over Red Army Faction terrorism in the 1970's Federal Republic of Germany.

The main character, Katharina Blum, is an innocent housekeeper whose life is ruined by an invasive tabloid reporter and a police investigation when the man with whom she h
Does "freedom of speech" include the right to exploit individuals and to distort evidence to serve a populist paper's financial profit as well as its wealthy, ultra-conservative, bigoted patrons' agenda?

I first read Katharina Blum's story in school, and my memory of it was vague, concerned mostly with the question whether or not it was understandable that she fell in love with a criminal, helped him escape and then committed a murder after being the victim of atrociously untruthful and sensation
Sidharth Vardhan
"Mama I'm in Love with the criminal."
- Britney Spear Katherina Blum

It seems people find a certain kind of enjoyment in seeing each other's lives going to ruins. We love to get hold of dirt on whosoever, we can, maybe it serves as a kind of moral victory for our own boring selves, plus it is a good source of entertainment. And news agencies exploit this tendency by providing us scapegoats. The only time it is a problem for us is when it is our own life being reduced to pieces. Kind of like in Shi
Steven Godin
Insightful and believable if somewhat confusing look at the media frenzy surrounding a criminal on the run and a young woman who becomes involved with him. It's 1974 and pretty hardworking German Katharina Blum is caught like a rabbit in the headlights when accused of helping wanted criminal Ludwig Gotten evade police capture from a building already under surveillance by law enforcement. Once the tabloids get their dirty little operations going they start an intrusive and nasty smear campaign of ...more
The day I write this review, coincides with two events: Five years ago, on 3/3/2009 the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne collapsed, two people died and many historical treasures kept in the building are believed to be destroyed forever:

Today is also Rosenmontag, the highlight of the German carnival season and Cologne being one of the carnival hot spots in Germany:

So, why am I telling you this?

First of all, Heinrich Böll was born in Cologne and lived there or nearby his whole life. A
E. G.
Introduction, by Kurt Andersen
Translator's Acknowledgment

--The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-german, favourites
This is an astonishing little novella. The most striking contrast to the Flanagan The Unknown Terrorist which treats the same subject of a woman exposed to the savagery of the media after it turns out that the man she spent the night with is a wanted criminal, is the tone. Flanagan wrote a competent thriller, but Böll uses the reports of the state prosecution, the police and Katharina's defence lawyers to create a dry, meticulous, straight narrative of the events of four days. But despite this s ...more
Χαρά Ζ.
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
_The Lost honor of Katharina Blum_

The lost honor of Katharina Blum is a great book. Heinrich Böll did something absolutely brilliant with it. He was absolutely brilliant with his sarcasm and his bravery and he was in full control of this from beggining to end. He gave me this feeling, that he knew what he was doing, he knew what he wanted to state with his book and he executed it perfectly. I think of him as a highly intelligent human being, i loved how smartly and smoothly he interrupted the fl
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The voice of this novel was something new to me: it is written in the form of a report, apparently reserved and unbiased, which presents the slow but effective process of Katharina Blum's public humiliation by police and press.

It all begins with a murder (I'm not sure this may be considered a spoiler, because it comes in the first pages of the novel):
On Sunday evening at almost the same hour (to be precise, at about 7:04 P.M.) she rings the front door bell at the home of Walter Moeding, Cri
Petra-X Off having adventures
Irresponsible journalism turns a maid into a murderer. Shock! Horror! It would have been much better written by a 'source' from the National Enquirer. As it is Heinrich Boll is too dry and literary and all the shock and horror is sucked out of it leaving just a competently-written, slightly disturbing story. ...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
My first book by the 1972 Nobel Prize for Literature, Heinrich Boll (1917-1985). I am extremely impressed.

This tells the story of a 22-y/o household help and a divorcee, Katharina Blum who at the start of the 4-day Carnival asks her employer for a leave. On the first day, she goes to her friend's party and there meets a mysterious man Ludwig Gotten and falls in love with him. They spend a night in Katharina's apartment and early in the morning Ludwig leaves. Later in the morning, police authorit
Parthiban Sekar
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it

Her life was not exposed to outside world till now, except to the intrusions of a certain gentleman-visitor; but, interrogated and shammed, it became the indispensable headline of NEWS! Camera flashes broke into frenzy before her main-door creaked. Blank-calls started invading her empty nights. Slander didn’t leave her family and her friends alone either. Looking for an escape from these press-matters, she thrusted herself into the limelight that sensationalised her, to bring it to a closure.

Aug 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over the past year, I have developed a disturbing addiction to one of America's most popular TV shows. Not American Idol. No, it's NCIS . Nothing pleases me more than when Channel 42 runs one of their sporadic Saturday NCIS marathons, because I've come late to a series that's about to finish its seventh season, so there's a heap of old episodes I have yet to see.

There are aspects of this new enthusiasm that I prefer not to analyze too closely, because every addiction has its dark side. With NC
I read this in German, and it was quite manageable, because this novel is very short (120 p). Moreover, the very dry style of Böll really works to stress the horrible things that are happening to Katharina (in contrast with Group Portrait with Lady, where it did not work). The principal theme of this novel is how a life is destroyed by the irresponsible actions of the media (that is the sensational press, and Böll definitely meant the infamous Bild-Zeitung). But also the actors of police and the ...more
Oh Katharina, what else can one do when a man says: "Let's bang" ...more
Gary Guinn
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heinrich Boll was drafted into the German army in World War II. He was wounded four times and ended up in an American prisoner-of-war camp. After the war, he became a prolific writer, and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum is one of his better-known novels. He eventually won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This is a novel that turns all our expectations on their heads. At the outset, the epigraph for the novel turns the usual disclaimer about people, places, and things into an attack on Bild-Zeitun
Of course Heinrich Böll wrote The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum in 1974, right as the ramifications of a media-saturated society were becoming apparent-- the great one-two-three of movies about mediated society, Network, Being There, and Videodrome would follow shortly thereafter. In fact, this really is a cinematic sort of novel about how media circuses form and eventually destroy people. Watch as Katharina Blum is slowly Lindsay Lohan'd into violence and insanity, and bitterly laugh along. Also ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Stop it before it grows! Look out, for Freedom of the Press is the core of everything: well-being, social progress, democracy, pluralism, diversity of opinions. And whoever attacks The Paper attacks us all."

Note: I don't know much about East Germany and West Germany, though in the past few days after reading and watching few fictional works, I did research few things and I have marked few things that I would read in the future about totalitarian society and cold war(I'm sure, I have studied
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Someone must have slandered Katharina Blum for, one morning, without having done anything wrong, she was brought in for questioning by the police. But no, it appeared the police are questioning Miss Blum for her involvement with a man who stayed in her place the previous night. The man was accused of murder, most wanted by the authorities, and by all indications, it looked like she helped him escape the police stakeout around her place.

At the outset this looked like a simple crime investigation,
Michelle Curie
It's easy to forget how easily newspapers can trick you into believing things. The Lost Honor of Karharina Blum is a sharp and intelligent indictment about the severe effects unreliable and biased journalism can have.

The story is written in an (seemingly) neutral and matter-of-factly way. Katharina Blum is a twenty seven year old woman. Hard-working, composed and intelligent, she leads an average life, until she falls in love with a man the police is after. When the police interrogates her, her
Lost in translation? Too much like listening to my father's side of the family? Too "German"? Mayhap. Or it may be that this annoying dude next to me at the gym kept trying to talk to me when I was reading the section that kind of explained a lot of the background. It's hard to put in to words what I mean by "too German." Only another person who is a surviving and socially functioning descendant of a German family in America (and trust me, there aren't many of us) may be able to understand what ...more
From BBc Radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama:
A brilliant exploration of the corrosive impact of tabloid journalism on one young woman. The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum is dissects the power of the press and it's impact on individual freedom. Told in the form of an unofficial report, this intelligent and pacy story from the 1970s tackles issues of press freedom, responsibility and police tactics.

It's based on a real incident in the author's own life, when he was publicly accused of being a terrorist sympa
Philippe Malzieu
This book of Böll created sensation. How oldest, the most respected (Nobel Prize), more venerated German authors wrote a novel talking on the same subjects than his turbulents youngs colleagues. Germany of Années de Plomb was one period extraordinary culturally in literature, cinema and music. Böll is the statute of the commander. He delivers a wild portrait of the media. An young woman binds with suspect. She becomes also suspected and the press breaks out against her.
There is a dimensioned vis
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of this novella until I read Mark Lawson's The Allegations. In Lawson's novel one of the key characters uses Katherina Blum as one of his set texts about the power of the media when accused of a crime. I am very glad that I became aware of this work, it really is a fascinating look at the impact of shame. Considering the period in which the novella was written, depiction of the impact of the gutter press on Katherina's life is fascinating. There were moments when I was reminded ...more
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
Blackly comic novella about the power of language. The equating of innocence with a certain precision of lexical choice and tone is sharply contrasted with the supposedly dispassionate yet nonetheless insinuating language of police investigations and newspaper reports thereby demonstrating how words and their meanings can be subverted to protect vested interest and cause much harm.
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC radio listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rick Slane
My original 5 star rating was based on my 1978 reading and at the time it was a favorite.
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: may-2017, borrowed
Heinrich Boll, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is an author whom I'd heard rather a lot about but had never read. I decided to rectify this by picking up perhaps his most famous novel in English translation, The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. The Sunday Telegraph deems it a 'novel of compassion and irony', and The Times writes of the way in which 'Boll sustains a masterly and insidious tension to the end. He is detached, angry and totally in control'. It sounded wonderfully unsettli ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly funny given the subject matter.
Quite a 'black' story and I get how it's a more intellectualised form of a detective or mystery story. The predominant thing I notice is that there's little of the interior life and descriptive prose here, so it's quite bare bones, and the aim is to present it in a documentary style.

It's about a young woman who is suspected of harbouring a criminal and about what happens then as detectives and a reporter try to unpick the story. Her life and associations are gone into - the family she works wit
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Reading 1001: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll 3 16 Sep 13, 2019 05:11AM  
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یه کم دقت کنید لطفاً 1 51 Jun 30, 2007 05:21AM  
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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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