Author(s): Ralf Rothmann
Walter Urban and Friedich 'Fiete' Caroli work side by side as hands on a dairy farm in northern Germany. By 1945, it seems the War's worst atrocities are over. When they are forced to 'volunteer' for the SS, they find themselves embroiled in a conflict which is drawing to a desperate, bloody close. Walter is put to work as a driver for a supply unit of the Waffen-SS, while Fiete is sent to the front. When the senseless bloodshed leads Fiete to desert, only to be captured and sentenced to death, the friends are reunited under catastrophic circumstances. In a few days the war will be over, millions of innocents will be dead, and the survivors must find a way to live with its legacy.
The German bestseller, a beautifully told and heart-breaking story of a friendship tragically interrupted by war. 'A sublime novel of damaged lives - and of fathers and sons.' Der Spiegel
In this masterpiece, Ralf Rothmann manages the seemingly impossible. He describes the guilt of their fathers' generation from the viewpoint of the post-War generation without betraying it to a moralising know-it-all attitude. Badische Zeitung In contemporary German literature, there is nothing that can be compared to this book. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Rothmann's work [is] one of the most substantial of contemporary German literature. Tagesspiegel A sublime novel of damaged lives - and of fathers and sons. Der Spiegel With his powerful poetics, Ralf Rothmann belongs to the most important German authors, and as a narrator, he is possibly the most sensitive of his generation. He visualises thoughts, gestures and noises masterfully. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung As a critic, one should use superlatives cautiously, but this novel is a sensation, a literary and political event. Rothmann's scenes and imagery are so impressive that readers experience the sensation of standing on the battlefield themselves. The author always finds the appropriate words for the horror, for this life damaged by war ... Rothmann poses the question of guilt, without moralising ... Apart from the prizes that this powerful and smart novel will receive, one wishes the text one thing first and foremost: many readers. From all generations, in Germany and abroad, because in belligerent times like these, the sad story of Walter and Friedrich is a strong, timeless beacon against war. SWR He imagines the characters, landscapes, dialogues with hallucinatory precision, doesn't spare the reader any detail of the brutality ... [He] lets objects - a footstool, a coat, the hem of a dress - speak. Suddeutsche Zeitung One can justifiably say that To Die in Spring heralds the post-Grass era with force. Die ZEIT Rothmann tells a story which, without resorting to a hyper-realistic description of catastrophe, narrates the destruction of human beings who seek to remain untouched by evil, who strive with very different intensities to preserve the traces of their humanity ... Moving, with exquisite prose, suffused with a sense of poetry, in the face of human and collective desolation. Diario Vasco To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, is the best novel about the end of the Second World War in years, and a beautiful anti-war tale of universal importance ... With its lyrical realism, the text reaches new heights. Not a word is out of place. El Pais In To Die in Spring Ralf Rothmann finds a way to describe German suffering without succumbing to self-pity or overlooking guilt. An extraordinary novel. La Nueva Espanola
Ralf Rothmann is a German novelist, poet, and dramatist. To Die in Spring, his eighth novel, but the first to be published in the UK, has been a bestseller in Italy and in Germany, where it has sold 60,000 copies in hardcover, and is being translated into twenty-four languages.