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Synopsis

A literary masterpiece by one of Germany's most renowned contemporary writers.

Rome one January afternoon in 1943. A young German woman is on her way to listen to a Bach concert at the Lutheran church. Innocent and naïve, the war is for her little more than a day-dream, until she realizes that her husband might never return.

This is a mesmerizing psychological portrait of the human need to safeguard innocence and integrity at any cost - even at the risk of excluding reality.

Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘I was simply enthralled by the structure of this narrative; a single 117-page long sentence with a beautifully clear rhythm. At the same time it's a compelling and credible description of a ""typical"" young German woman during the Nazi era. If we can relate to her we come close to understanding the forces that were shaping an entire generation.’ Meike Ziervogel

‘A small masterpiece.’ Helmut Schmitz, Times Literary Supplement

‘A formidable achievement by a German writer too little known here. Delius understands the forces that shape Germany and has the gift to articulate joy, beauty and love.’ Rosie Goldsmith, Independent

‘A beautifully crafted work of superb psychological intensity.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post

‘The book's last paragraph, overtly expressing nothing more than the young woman's intention to write a letter, is one of the most moving conclusions I've ever read.’ Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

‘Delius’s exploration of how indoctrination and denial work impresses with both the sympathy it creates for its bewildered protagonist and the musicality of its prose.’ Adrian Turpin, Financial Times

‘The single 117-page sentence, covering just an hour-long walk, contains multitudes.’ Blake Morrison, Guardian

GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2010

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