Saturday, January 7, 2017
Schlump: Tales and Adventures from the Life of the Anonymous Soldier Emil Schulz, Known as "Schlump," Narrated by Himself. / Hans Herbert Grimm, trans. Jamie Bulloch, 279 pp.
Schlump is at once an everyman and a wholly unique character. He is almost more easily described by what he is not: not a genius, not a revolutionary, not a pacifist, and not a paragon of morality. He is a decent, essentially cheerful young man who loves women, his mother, and his homeland. Through his eyes the war seems messy, foolish, and often very funny, but hideous violence is always around the corner. In the midst of gruesome carnage, Schlump makes Love (capital L intended) all over Europe, and the reader is relieved that he does. This is an oddly charming novel; I am glad it was rescued from the fire.