“What kind of a young woman is this ... ?” cries the author and rechercheur of Heinrich Böll’s Group Portrait with Lady (Gruppenbild mit Dame) when confronted with Leni Pfeiffer, née Gruyten, the central figure of the portrait and the recent Nobel Prize-winning novel. The reader, echoing this question, is so intrigued by the search for the real Leni, set up in a cunning way by Böll himself, that he takes at face value the author’s amazement, willing to forget that Leni is the embodiment of Böll’s own dream of the real woman, his long-planned creation of a new Eve.



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