How German Is It

How German Is It by Walter Abish (1980). Abish wields not pen, but scalpel, vivisecting Germany’s cult of appearances and culture of denial. His protagonist is Ulrich, whose father was executed for plotting against Hitler. Ulrich—a cipher who married, conspired with, and has now informed on a left-wing terrorist—has returned to his fatherland after a long absence to seek his estranged wife and his own true paternity and patrimony. With the discovery of a mass grave and the descent of his model citizen brother into debauchery and thuggery, Ulrich sees the residue of prewar Germany in the postwar world.

(HJ 4)