Established scholarly opinion in the West has come to regard Günter de Bruyn as an inconsequential GDR writer whose works follow a pattern of sentimentality or even banality. Marcel Reich-Ranicki views de Bruyn as an author of "simple Trivialliteratur," one who writes idyllic stories that have scarcely anything to do with our time. Fritz J. Raddatz sees de Bruyn's 1968 novel Buridans Esel as a mixture of philistinism and conscious subtlety that utterly fails to work. And Werner Brettschneider interprets the same novel as a harmless, open-ended tale, possessing little more than the possibility of humor. "Nichts wird heroisiert, nichts in den Schmutz gezogen," Brettschneider comments disapprovingly. "Die Liebe bleibt und der Alltag bleibt. Der Held muss sich entscheiden, aber der Autor richtet nicht. Er lasst das Urteil offen."



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