The Train Was on Time

The Train Was on Time Cover

The Train Was on Time

By Heinrich Boll; Leila Vennewitz (Translator); William T. Vollmann (Afterword by)

Melville House Publishing, Paperback, 9781935554325, 133pp.

Publication Date: April 5, 2011

Heinrich Boll's taut and haunting first novel tells the story of twenty-four-year-old Private Andreas as he journeys on a troop train across the German countryside to the Eastern front. Trapped, he knows that Hitler has already lost the war ... yet he is suddenly galvanized by the thought that he is on the way to his death.
As the train hurtles on, he riffs through prayers and memories, talks with other soldiers about what they ve been through, and gazes desperately out the window at his country racing away. With mounting suspense, Andreas is gripped by one thought over all: Is there a way to defy his fate?

About the Author
In 1972, Heinrich Boll became the first German to win the Nobel Prize for literature since Thomas Mann in 1929. Born in Cologne, in 1917, Boll was reared in a liberal Catholic, pacifist family. Drafted into the Wehrmacht, he served on the Russian and French fronts and was wounded four times before he found himself in an American prison camp. After the war he enrolled at the University of Cologne, but dropped out to write about his shattering experiences as a soldier. His first novel, "The Train Was on Time," was published in 1949, and he went on to become one of the most prolific and important of post-war German writers. His best-known novels include "Billiards at Half-Past Nine" (1959), "The Clown "(1963), "Group Portrait with Lady" (1971), and "The Safety Net "(1979). In 1981 he published a memoir, "What s to Become of the Boy? or: Something to Do with Books." Boll served for several years as the president of International P.E.N. and was a leading defender of the intellectual freedom of writers throughout the world. He died in June 1985. Translator Leila Vennewitz was a distinguished translator of many German authors including Uwe Johnson, Hermann Hesse, Uwe Timm, Alexander Kluge, and Alfred Andersch."

Praise For The Train Was on Time

"Böll has feelingly symbolized a guilty Germany doing pennace for its sins through suffering and death."--TIme