Ralf Rothmann was born in 1953 in Schleswig and grew up in the Ruhr valley. He has received numerous awards for his fiction and poetry, including the Friedrich Hï¿½lderlin Prize in 2013, the Hans Fallada Prize in 2008, and the Max Frisch Prize in 2006. He lives in Berlin. Ralf's books include To Die in Spring and Knife Edge. Shaun Whiteside is a Northern Irish translator of French, Dutch, German, and Italian literature. He has translated many novels, including Manituana and Altai by Wu Ming, The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink, and Magdalene the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation in 1997.
"The haunting portrayal of conflict and carnage in the final weeks of the second world war makes this German novel a modern classic." --Rachel Seiffert, The Guardian "Pressed into military service in the final days of WWII, a young German farmhand finds himself in a nightmare world of cruelty and desperation . . . Rothmann's (Young Light, 2010) prose lingers plaintively on images of suffering animals and devastated buildings but avoids sentimentality about all that is damaged . . . The result is a quietly unsettling triumph." --Brendan Driscoll, Booklist (starred review) "[A] brilliant novel from German author Rothmann . . . Spare and elegant, [it] paints a quietly harrowing picture of the lasting effects of human violence and offers brief, poignant glimpses into the natural world . . . Directly confronting issues of responsibility, accountability, and legacy, this is an undeniably powerful work." --Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A Bosch-like vision of hell . . . The horror of war and the deep damage it does to people . . . is not always handled as well, or as powerfully, as this." --David Mills, The Sunday Times "Rothmann's writing is spare and vivid, nearly cinematic. It is also crucial: German accounts of WWII have been relatively rare and slow in coming, especially when it comes to descriptions of their country's own suffering. Rothmann is unflinching in his accounts of both German atrocities and misery . . . A spectacular novel . . . Searing, haunting, incandescent: Rothmann's new novel is a vital addition to the trove of wartime fiction." --Kirkus Reviews