In the High Peaks

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nothing but rain here. It's been raining since Saturday and is not expected to stop anytime soon. How dreary it is! The dirt roads are impossibly wet and the trails are underwater, shutting down any ideas of taking a walk. Time to dig in and stay away from the wilds. It's bad for the trails to venture out in thick mud. We don't do it. We work out on the elliptical and the treadmill instead. We look out the windows a lot.

So? I finished final papers and posted all my grades, finishing just after noon today. Yes, it is truly summer vacation now. I'd like to teach a class this summer, but enrollment hasn't merited my involvement, so I'm left to entertain myself.

Do you recall that I mentioned Bernard Schlink's The Weekend earlier this year, or was it late in 2010 that I discussed it? In any event, I never had the chance to read beyond Chapter Two. I am reading it now, am halfway through, and now realize how crucial it is to be a member of German society to understand the issues the novel raises.

I have felt so at sea while reading it. The book looks back upon the former members of a radical leftist terrorist movement which was active from the very late 1960s until nearly 1990 and unification. Characters in The Weekend are former members of the Red Army Faction (no, nothing to do with the Soviet Union), which was a pivotal German radical group during this period.

I know nothing about the Red Army Faction or its impact on German politics and society. This lack, I feel, prevents me from fully appreciating the novel, and I am angry that it was published here without any historical notes or preface or introduction or anything.

I am now in the midst of researching what I can find about the Red Army Faction and the murders they perpetrated on German industrialists and power brokers. I want to understand more so that I can fully appreciate what Schlink is saying in the novel.


  1. I well remember the Red Army faction and the Baader Meinhoff Gang, they were big news here. We drove past the prison which some of them were in in the 80s. It looked like a luxury hotel!

  2. Katrina,
    Thank you so much for commenting about this issue. They made absolutely NO NEWS in the U.S. that I recall, and now, judging from what American book critics have written about The Weekend, they don't have a clue either. At least I'm not the only one in the dark.

    Since I posted yesterday, I've been reading everything I can find about the Baader-Meinfhof group and their followers.

    I read a number of British book reviews written by folks who seemed to get it. They were enlightening. Now I'm trying to translate German book reviewers' opinions on the book.


  3. I read this ,I like you new little or nothing about red army and found this enlightening ,schlink is so good at subtle tackling germanys history ,all the best stu