“The Clown” is a brilliant social mockery, an impassioned, tragic, highlighting love, spirituality, religion and politicis.The book also reflects criticism against catholic church. It is a grim post-war novel abounding in fatalism, doubt, sarcasm, melancholy, loss and survival. This novel is a biting critique not only of postwar German society, but of hypocrisy in general (religious, romantic, and otherwise). Boll captures magnificently the feeling of being down and out and rootless. It is set specifically in post World War II Germany and describes well what surely the feelings of many were. But the sense of loss, alienation, lack of love, religious doubt set forth in the book go much deeper than that.
"I am a clown," says Hans. "I collect moments."2 Ostensibly intended by Boll as a simple definition of character, the statement offers considerable insight into Bolls philosophical perspective. Hans Schnier is the "Clown" of the novels title and invariably the spokesperson for Boll as the author. The Clown is a hugely life-like figure; his pain bleeds through the paper, his tears smear the words. He is an artist, destroyed by loss and betrayal, an artist who has reached the lowest point of his existence and now despairs in the knowledge of his own pathetic tragedy.
The book is told first person by its hero, a clown, Hans Schneir. The "hero", a bedraggled clown, has lost everything - his job, his love Marie but not his honor. A moment of time is expanded by Boll to a whole evening of tragic and of memories of his childhood and his one-and-only love Marie. The life of Hans Schneir, a down-on-his-luck, melancholy, incisive clown could represent any human life after surviving and living the day-to-day economic and emotional traumas hatched by war and the idiocy of policy that brings it about. His thought center on his own spiritual and emotional poverty, on the loss of Marie, his ambivalence towards religion, and the attempted change among Germans