In fact, this one was written and published at a rapid pace, almost concurrently, in weekly installments in the populist newspaper Schweizer Beobachter. At the time he was also working on a play and living in rather cramped conditions with his small family in the house of his mother-in-law on the lake in Biel. Some of it was written in the hospital in Berne, where half of the action takes place. His surgeon, Dr.
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In fact, this one was written and published at a rapid pace, almost concurrently, in weekly installments in the populist newspaper Schweizer Beobachter. At the time he was also working on a play and living in rather cramped conditions with his small family in the house of his mother-in-law on the lake in Biel. Some of it was written in the hospital in Berne, where half of the action takes place.
His surgeon, Dr. Hungertobel, is also a friend and as they sit together chatting one day, the doctor thinks that he recognises an old classmate of his in a picture of a Nazi camp doctor known for his terrible atrocities. He quickly repudiates that idea, however, as his classmate spent the war years in Chile and even published articles in medical journals during that time. He persuades the reluctant Hungertobel to move him to convalesce in the sanatorium for wealthy people opened by the doctor he suspects of Nazi war crimes.
This is when the story becomes much less of a straightforward investigation and takes on certain nightmarish, almost surreal qualities. We have far fewer descriptions of landscapes and houses: nearly every scene takes place in an enclosed, indoor space, quite claustrophobic. Dialogues drive the plot and some of them even turn into serial monologues as first one character and then another spells out their view of the world, their beliefs and values or lack thereof.
As one of the protagonists says:. Hungertobel, who wants to believe the best of every one he encounters. The law is the law. When we say law, we mean power; and when we say power, we think of riches…. As the world descended into the newly rigid battle trenches of the Cold War chaos, suspicion becomes a way of life. But how can humanity survive on nihilism alone?
So, not a conventional crime novel as such, but posing many moral dilemmas instead. Claustrophobic is a great word for this novella. I found it much more unnerving than its predecessor, The Judge and his Hangman. Great commentary on the supporting characters in the clinic, too. I can see I might have nightmares about Marlok tonight…. How fascinating! Sometimes those more reflective books — the ones that pose moral and other questions — are the most memorable, Marina Sofia.
And I do like the premise for this one. I also like that use of both wit and deeper reflection to make a point. I can see why you enjoyed this as much as you did. As i said on Jacqui review he is a writer I have not tried yet , I ve him on my list of writers to read.
I am in sheffield on saturday so hoping it may be in the bookshop there. I found Suspicion to be an absolute page-turner and really quite sensationalist you could imagine someone like Edgar Wallace deploying a very similar plot , despite the importance of its subtext.
Second review in a row about this novella that sounds more and more like a must read. A really great review, Marina. I like his plays a great deal too. Great to read another excellent review of this book! I think I got already an idea for German Lit Month ….
Great review. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. The playwright at the age of two, from duerrenmatt. Share this: Twitter Facebook WhatsApp. Like this: Like Loading Joel Agee JacquiWine's Journal.
Thanks Marina. Pingback: Summary of November Reading findingtimetowrite. Do share your thoughts! Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Der Verdacht (Suspicion)
I read a few detective novels when I was a teenager and I still like a bit of Inspector Morse! The difference with these two stories is the way the solving of the suspected crime becomes unimportant compared to the sub-plots and interplay between the characters. The two titles are chosen quite deliberately; throughout the two books there are several judges and executioners, none of them appointed by the law of the land. Again and again, the investigation comes across obstacles preventing access to the suspected perpetrator until Tschanz finally confronts, and kills, Gastmann and his sidekicks. The old inspector has judged the inveterate criminal and sent his executioner to carry out the sentence. Both criminals, Gastmann and the surgeon, Emmenberger, are portrayed as rich, successful, intelligent men who commit crimes for the sake of it.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s Der Verdacht: Refusal to Heed Criticism
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29 & 30 – ‘Der Richter Und Sein Henker’ & ‘Der Verdacht’ by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
It has also been published as The Quarry. He witnesses how his friend and doctor Samuel Hungertobel turns pale and becomes nervous when looking at a photograph in a magazine he is reading. The person pictured is the German Dr. Nehle who carried out horrific experiments on prisoners in the concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk , including operating on patients without anesthesia. Hungertobel explains that his colleague Fritz Emmenberger, who was in Chile and publishing medical articles from there during the war, closely resembles Dr. Emmenberger, who is now the director of a famous private clinic for the rich and dying in Zurich , committed Nazi war crimes under the false name of Dr. He determines to sign himself into Emmenberger's clinic under the false name of Kramer in order to confirm his suspicions and put the suspect under pressure.