Billiards at Half Past Nine Main Characters

With a setting based on the Nazi regime, the Billiards at Half Past Nine is a novel written by Heinrich Böll, under the original name Billard um halbzehn. This 1950s novel depicts a story of the Faehmel family’s architect, Robert Faehmel, while tackling common German political developments during a half a century period.

The novel uses flashbacks to help deliver the thoughts of different characters involved in the story while covering the most important idealism of most Germans during the Nazi and post-war regime.

The story mainly focuses on the life of Robert Faehmel as he goes about with his mysterious and precise interests which include playing billiards at a local hotel. A bellboy working on the said establishment serves as one of his few contacts with the outside world. The story progresses, and a series of characters emerge to help make the novel one of the best pieces of literature in the early century.

Billiards at Half Past Nine Character Analysis:

Robert Faehmel

The main character in the story, Robert Faehmel, is an architect who lives a solitary life which mainly involves accurate and specific work routines and a daily billiard spree at the local Prince Heinrich Hotel. Not mainly a fan of war, Robert was known to destroy St. Anthony’s Abbey, a church constructed by the family patriarch HeinrichFaehmel, who is also a prominent architect during his prime.

After the war, Robert dedicates his life to bringing everything back to normal. He chooses his friends carefully and only lets a few people inside his private memories.

Henreich Faehmel

He is the prominent family patriarch who built the beautiful St. Anthony’s Abbey. His 80th birthday marks a series of events which molded how the family dedicated themselves to a life which strays away from the usual conventions and far from the oppressive society run by Nazis and other people in power.

Joseph Faehmel

He is the son of Robert Faehmel, and is also an architect himself. Joseph was known to have been angered when he learned that his father bombed St. Anthony’s Abbey, which is considered as a highly prominent landmark in the city.


He is the mother of Robert who was thrown into an institution while trying to help the Jews escape from being slaughtered in extermination camps by the Nazi leaders. She is known to have a good and tender heart, going to the expense of trying to save her children from the throes of war.


He is a bellboy whom Robert Faehmel trusts to keep his privacy safe at the Prince Heinrich Hotel. This young lad is seen as a person Robert trusts as he confidently tells him his experiences and memories of the war.


He is Robert’s schoolmate during his younger years and a firm supporter of the Nazi group. He was known to have committed heinous crimes which include beating another schoolmate named Schrella, who shares the same anti-war views as Robert. He was later on seen as appearing at the doorstep of Prince Heinrich Hotel while looking for Robert with a claim that he has reformed from his evil ways.


She is the girlfriend of Joseph Faehmel, who also tells her own share of a horror-filled past, with a father being an ardent Nazi officer. She narrowly escapes death from the hands of her own mother due to a serendipitous arrival of some strangers in their own home.

Billiards at Half Past Nine is a clawing and meaningful novel which tells the tale of the life of Germans during and after World War II. With deep and insightful memories of all experiences coming from those who lived during this tragedy-filled era, Heinrich Böll delivers one of his best masterpieces that have left a mark on the lives of people all over the world.

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March 10, 2017

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