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We Germans Reviews

We Germans by Alexander Starritt

We Germans

Alexander Starritt

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: JM Originals
Publisher: John Murray Press
Publication date: 14 May 2020
ISBN: 9781529317244

A striking and human novel about the Second World War told from the point of view of a German soldier on the Eastern front

3 stars out of 5
John Thornhill
22 May 2020

"Starritt’s descriptions of conflict are shocking. But he becomes less sure-footed when the two characters start moralising about war"

Starritt’s slim, taut novel takes the form of a letter written by an elderly German war veteran to his British grandson, Callum. At times the book clanks against the sides of this somewhat contrived structure, but it does permit an indirect dialogue to develop as Callum adds his own notes to the story. Those exchanges are all the more resonant considering that the Scots-German Starritt’s own grandfather was a German soldier who fought in Russia and spent several years in a Soviet prison camp after the war.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
10 May 2020

"This may be only his second novel, but Alexander Starritt is already showing striking signs of ambition"

All of these individual episodes are vividly done, and the book has a gritty realism. Its arguments about the equivocal nature of guilt on the battlefield can be arresting. However, the structure on which all this hangs is strangely slight. The book wanders (“that was a long digression,” Meissner confesses at one point), the moral interjections can feel like lectures dropped into the action, and the narrative is not sturdy or broad enough to support the weight of Starritt’s ambitions. The unfortunate effect is to make this feel like a novel full of potential that’s only half-developed.