This study evaluates the reception of Martin Walser's novels by critics and reviewers between 1957 and 1978 in West Germany, East Germany, Britain and the USA. It demonstrates the connection between the aesthetic responses and the political positions of the critics. The novel
Jenseits der Liebe is identified as both a turning point in Walser's development and as a case of inconsistent reception by critics. Walser's treatment of the political psychology of the salaried employee with its deep loyalty conflicts disturbed the critics more profoundly than the identity problems of his earlier and later heroes.