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Translated by Carol Brown Janeway
‘A cool, patient voice that draws the reader in. Von Schirach…has the talent to dazzle.’ New York Times Book Review
A private boys' school that harbours a gang of teenage exorcists. A drug deal that goes bizarrely awry when a dog gets involved. A couple who like to swing – until one partner hits the wall. A brutal gang rape whose perpetrators are known but cannot be convicted. Crimes, bad decisions, accidents and breaking points; acts of savagery, betrayal and self-sacrifice.
In these stories Ferdinand von Schirach, one of Germany’s most prominent defence lawyers, presents the case for human fallibility. Calmly, rationally, he reveals to us the weave of circumstance that may trap our fellow citizen in his, or her, destiny. In doing so he shows us the criminal in ourselves.
‘…the stories are well-told, wonderfully crafted…While von Schirach’s narrator has the odour of emotionless evidence lingering about him, as the defendant of the guilty, he brings to these stories a deeply humane guiltless, impartiality.’
‘He is vivid without revelling in the gore of crime, and honest about what can happen…His concise and revealing writing style makes for enthralling tales…Guilt is a highlight of the month.’
‘The tales are told clinically, with a piercing eye for detail and with empathy and compassion by Ferdinand von Schirach…Translator Carol Jane Janeway has done a brilliant job of conveying the spare and evocative prose of a startlingly good new voice.’
‘Ferdinand von Schirach is a highly respected German defence lawyer, and his short-story collection, Guilt, is the best thing I have read for a long, long time. In it, the author offers us a fascinating insight into the complexities of both his profession and of human nature itself.‘
‘The writing is sparse and economical and just enough detail is provided to introduce and sketch the key characters. The narratives are developed with a minimum of elaboration. The sting in the tail of each story is delivered without fuss.’
‘The stories capture the unthinking ordinariness of even bizarre criminal acts. They retain and describe the human stories of both victim and perpetrator. The reader, having been desperate to find one story, immediately embarks on the next. Verdict: Gritty, realistic crime stories.’
‘Beautifully crafted, these stories say a lot in little space.’
‘The true drama of dealing with crime and criminals can be muted. Fictional crime generally exaggerates. These 15 stories get the balance just right.’
‘The prose in *Guilt *is so ice-cold that it burns. The author is the archetypal reserved German. He describes scenes of murder, bloodshed and sexual violence with detachment. He introduces the crime in a matter-of-fact way, adds detail that quietly humanises the protagonist and then end each story abruptly, leaving just a hint of poetry.’
‘Guilt is one of the best collections of short stories that I have read in years.’ The author draws the reader into each story with his sparse prose, a deceptively simple storyline and acute observation of human frailty.‘