Title: Where have you been?

Author: Heinrich Bell

Translator: Sarang Malakouti

Publisher: Look

Subject: Story

Age category: Adult

Language: Farsi




Wo warst du Adam by Heinrich Bell was published in 1951. The story of this book goes back to the end of the Second World War and depicts the bitterness and failures of that period. Heinrich Bell tells the story of tired soldiers and depicts a gray, smoky city.

Introducing Adam’s book Where were you?

The work of Heinrich Bell
Heinrich Bell depicts the bitterness and failures of war in the late World War II book, Where Were You?

This book, which tells the story of tired soldiers and people in misery, has a dead-hearted genre that conveys to you the story of disgust from such an event from the very beginning.

The common denominator of all the works of Heinrich Boll, one of the greats of world literature in the twentieth century and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is war. Although he is the narrator of the present with a nested narrative of time, he constantly opens a window to the past. And where were you in Adam’s book? (Wo warst du Adam) also deals directly with the narrative of war. He even mocks and satirizes the German order in the service of war.
In this work, as in Bell’s other works, war, love, and divisions resulting from destruction and disintegration can be clearly seen. He depicts the defeats and retreats of the Germans in the war and shows that there is nothing left of the war but destruction and displacement.

Fine Halls is one of the main characters of this work, who is tired of war and is a witness to the calamities of war and the defeat and destruction of the people around him, is the key to entering the adventures of the story.


War with all its gray space and blackness has been the subject of many writers throughout history to tell stories from the heart of the war that are less heard. Heinrich Bell based on his life experience during World War II, Where Were You? Has written a heartbreaking and readable story about the war and the impact of its devastation on people’s lives.


With his pen, he depicts the atmosphere of that time in a way that the reader imagines himself in that time and place. In this book, Heinrich Bell, like his other works, narrates the shadow of war on people’s lives and uses the destruction and displacement of that period as the basis of his story.

He also expresses his hatred of fascism and war in the words of this story and shows the life of the people at that time. One of the characters in this story is “Fine Halls”, he goes on in the story and tells the story page by page with the reader as a witness to the tragedies of war.
The author begins the story with these words, which show the extreme tiredness of the people during the war: “First a man with a big, yellow and miserable face passed by them, it was the general. The general looked tired. “His head with that blue tear gland, yellow eyes, sleepy malaria, and a mouth with the narrow lips of an unlucky man, hurried past a thousand men.”

About Heinrich Bell, German anti-war writer

Heinrich Böll German writer Heinrich Böll was born on December 21, 1917 in Cologne, Germany. He had an interest in the world of literature and fiction since his childhood, but at a young age he enlisted in the army and stayed away from this space for a while.

He fought in World War II and fought for the German army and he was wounded several times during this period and closely watched the sufferings and injuries of the people and became more and more disgusted with the Nazi Germans and their crimes. Based on his experiences during this period, he wrote great stories in German literature and was introduced as an outstanding author.
He returned to Cologne after the war with his wife, Anne Marie, to study German literature. Heinrich Bell died in 1985 in his hometown and was buried there.

Works of Heinrich Bell

Heinrich Bell is a prolific and successful German writer whose name lives on and whose works have been translated into other languages. He is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1972 and the Georg Buchner Prize in 1967. In 1949, he published his first novel, The Train Arrived on Time, which tells the story of a young soldier returning to Poland.

This author devoted his life to writing stories and published other stories. In 1955, he published The Bread of the Young Years, the story of a young boy who falls in love with a girl in a devastated and famine-stricken society.
In this social work, the author has portrayed a love story that is very readable and enjoyable. This author is well known in Iran for his book “The Thoughts of a Clown”. The book was published in 1963 and is a critique of traditionalist and superstitious society. This work has also been published in Persian and has been included in the bestseller list many times.

Where were you translating Adam’s book? In Persian

The book “Where have you been, man?” Heinrich Bell’s work was translated into Persian by Sarang Malakouti and published by Negah Publishing in 1397. Sarang Malakotti is a translator of Heinrich Bell’s works, he was educated in Germany and is fluent in the language. His other translations include The Bread of Those Years, The Irish Diary, and The Time Train.

in AND WHERE WERE YOU, ADAM? book? we read:

He looked out of every window that passed by to make sure that Sharka’s cart was still in front of the exit. Now the yard was full of trucks and army ambulances, and in the middle of them was the commander’s car. They load up and Schneider notices that in front of the kitchen they also put baskets of fruit in the trucks, and the driver of the commander carries the large box of gray that was soldered.

In the corridors, everyone was pushing each other in a hurry. In his room, Schneider hurried to the closet, poured the rest of his sweat into a glass, and let the soda gas escape and disappear, and as he drank it, he heard that the first car engine had started. He walked down the hall with a glass in his hand and stood at the window. The sound of the engine coming from the commander’s car was a good engine, and Schneider did not know much about it,

but he heard that it was a good car.

Then the commander entered the yard. He was not carrying a suitcase with his military helmet slightly tilted over his head. He looked almost as usual, only his face, which usually looked dignified and calm, was pale with red spots on it, his face looking red like a crab.
The commander was a handsome man, tall and slender, a great horseman who rode his horse with a whip in his hand every morning at about six o’clock and threw it into the bush, always steadily moving so far on this flat area that only’s seemingly far from him. A line remains on the horizon. But now his face was like a red crab, and Schneider had only seen the commander’s face like this once, on the day Schmidz had undergone surgery that the commander had not risked.

AND WHERE WERE YOU, ADAM? in another part of Adam’s book? we read

Then he opened the lollipop and put the lollipop in his mouth. When he felt the sour and artificial taste in his mouth, he started salivating and swallowed the first bittersweet wave, suddenly hearing the sound of mortars. Mortars fired at them from the far front line for hours fluttered over their heads, rippled in the air, roared, and, like boxes not well nailed, shattered and made a loud noise behind them.

The second balls hit the ground in front of them at a considerable distance, sandballs shattered like mushrooms on the bright darkness of the eastern sky, and he recalls that behind them was darkness and a little light in front of them. He hears the sound of the third bombing; Apparently someone among them was hammering on wooden boards; It was dangerous to make noise and to break the sticks and get closer.
Dirt and the smell of sulfur fumes were on the ground, and when he threw himself on the ground, tossed and turned, and lowered his head into every deep hole he could find, he could hear the mouth-to-mouth command: “Ready to attack,” this whisper. He came from the right and, like a buzzer in front of them, passed silently and dangerously like the dynamite fuse thread that apparently catches fire on the left, and when he pulled his cannon forward to strengthen it, something fell to the ground next to him and exploded, apparently under him. He was hit and rubbed his arms, his left hand drowned in the damp heat, he pulled his face out of the mud and shouted:

I’m injured.

He himself could not hear what he was shouting, he only heard a voice saying:
Horse manure.
A voice very far away, like the sound that separated him from behind a thick glass, was heard very close and still far away, saying:
Horse manure.
A slow, restrained, round voice saying:
Horse manure Captain, yes sir.
Then everything was completely silent and the voice said:
I hear the voice of Mr. Captain.
Everything was quiet, only in the distance there was a rumble that boiled slowly and swelled as if water had come out of the pot. Then he remembered that he had closed his eyes, opened his eyes, seen the captain, and now a louder voice could be heard, his head was behind a frame of dirty and dark windows, and the captain’s face was tired, unformed and frowning, his eyes were closed and now Three times in a row, with a short pause in between, he said:

Obedience to Colonel.

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1- Introducing the book AND WHERE WERE YOU, ADAM? on YouTube

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