'[To Die in Spring] holds its own against [Günter] Grass and [Erich Maria] Remarque; it is an excellent work, and one deserving of its wide readership.' Guardian
Walter Urban and Friedrich '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.
An international bestseller, To Die in Spring is a beautiful and devastating novel by German author Ralf Rothmann.
To Die in Spring holds its own against Günter Grass and Erich Maria Remarque; it is an excellent work, and one deserving of its wide readership. (Rachel Seiffert Guardian)
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. (Sunday Times)
A wonderful, precise, very moving novel. (Roddy Doyle)
A remarkable and memorable book, about the nastiness, fear, dirt and brutality of war . . . Few novels, in any language, have conveyed them better. (Caroline Moorehead Times Literary Supplement)
Yes, you’ve already read Remarque, but you should read this one because it’s not just the story of wartime trauma, but also the story of how that trauma affects the future. Walter Urban and his friend Friedrich Caroli are just 17 years old when they’re drafted from their dairy-farm duties into the trenches. Today, right now, we all need to read the chilling section in which very young men are hectored into military service. (LitHub)
Rothmann's work [is] one of the most substantial of contemporary German literature. (Tagesspiegel)
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)
Searing, haunting, incandescent: Rothmann’s new novel is a vital addition to the trove of wartime fiction. (Kirkus (starred review))
A sublime novel of damaged lives - and of fathers and sons. (Der Spiegel)