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The Devil Tree Hardcover – Jul 1976


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bookthrift Co; 1 edition (July 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151253285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151253289
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,252,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Looking down at the river shimmering in the bright sun, Jonathan Whalen leaned against the steel balustrade at the end of the street. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 July 2002
Format: Hardcover
A collection of superb stories by Heinrich Boll, the Nobel Prize winner, set in pre-war, wartime and post-war "Wirtschaftswunder" Germany. The stories include "Damals in Odessa", "Die Ungezahlte Geliebte" and "Es Muss Etwas Geschehen" among others, some very humorous, others tragic, all extremely moving and excellent observations of Germany during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Boll is not afraid to point out the weaknesses and flaws of the "miracle" economy; he does not sympathize with the authorities of any decade but with each individual as a human being. His characteristic emphasis on the "Menschlichkeit" or humanity of people, regardless of their position or status, comes through the stories in this collection very clearly.
The actual language in the stories is accessible (I read it at Higher)and the length of the stories make it ideal for those who are needing to gain confidence but, equally, this should not deter more advanced German speakers from reading this magnificent collection.
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Format: Turtleback
I think whether or not you will like this book depends on what you expect from it. I have just finished it, and read it to help revive my German. If this is your aim, then it's a good choice, since it's short, and the language is challenging enough without being so difficult as to make reading the book a chore.

It's divided into 4 chapters, with the second by far the longest. The action takes place during a single day in the main character's life. The opening chapter begins "Der Tag, an dem Hedwig kam, war ein Montag", while the closing chapter commences "Es war dunkel, und immer noch Montag". Walter, the protagonist, awakes to a letter from his father, reminding him to collect a young girl from the station and beseeching him to take care of her. A reasonable chunk of the narrative is then in flashback, after which point the action moves forward as he travels to the station. Having been disinterested in, and even mildly irritated by, his errand, he instantly becomes obsessed with the girl. He stations himself outside her door for a lengthy period, during which time many significant facts about his life are revealed in flashback, through his innermost thoughts and a conversation with his boss's son, Wolf. The story then moves forward again, but relies again on flashback during a conversation with Wolf's sister.

The decision to collect the girl has an enormous impact on his life and is likened to a train he caught when he could easily have taken another. The plot of the novella, if indeed the word "plot" should be used, is very slight. The book's impact relies on the themes and ideas behind it. So if you are a lover of fine literature I'm sure you would find a lot in this book. But if you're simply after a good story you should perhaps look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was attempting to buy Dr Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen, which appeared on the same page, in order to read it with a pupil. It appeared to be available in used paperback, at an astonishing variety of prices, but every time I thought I had isolated it to try and buy, the Kindle version came up; I do not have or want to have a Kindle. I eventually thought I had succeeded in buying the book I wanted, and realised when the order confirmation came through that it was the wrong book altogether, by which time I simply could not be bothered to do anything about it. Somewhat fed up, and will re-plan my teaching material.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The product description is about a collection of short stories and lists the titles of some of the others in the collection. However, the Kindle edition consists only of the single story "Dr Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen". A great story but probably not worth £2.39 when full length novels are available for 20p and anyway the product described should be the product you get - as beef lasagne manufacturers will tell you.
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