Crime and Guilt Paperback – 1 Mar 2012
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"Small literary gems" (The Times)
"Mesmerizing" (New York Times)
"A strange and scary fictionalised casebook" (Boyd Tonkin Independent, Books of the Year)
"What makes these tales stand out are not the extremes of their protagonists but the narrator's voice: resistant to melodrama, dryly funny...never less than humane. If Crime shows the arbitrary nature of justice, it also backs the underdogs" (Adrian Turpin Financial Times)
"A wonderful debut, gripping from the very first page and not a word out of place" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
Provocative, shocking and brilliant, these stories may change the way you judge the world.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Ferdinand von Schirach is a criminal defense lawyer in Berlin, Germany. He has defended the famous and infamous, and here he tells some of their stories. His uncle was a judge and a soldier in World War II. His grandfather was convicted of crimes against humanity at Nuremberg. There is a history here, and the stories von Schirach tells all come from the heart and most involve guilt of some sort. There are eleven stories, all different and all are mesmerizing in their own right.
'Self Defense' may be my favorite story. A man at a train station defends himself from two criminals, the fact that he does not say a word at any time, to anyone, raises the level. The District Attorney and the Defense Attorney vie against each other, and the man continues to remain silent. How do you defend a man who does not speak, it can be done. 'The Thorn' may be the most unusual of stories, a museum guard patrols and guards the same room for some twenty odd years. He comes slightly unhinged, and his journey is one to behold. 'Tanata's Tea Bowl' may be one of the most gruesome crimes, but the story underneath is the reality. The other eight stories are as fascinating.
The characters are rich and full of life. Their stories are told by the author and narrator, but the words come from the characters. The road to their crime is told from their perspective, and the author fills in the voice of the law. Ferdinand von Schirach gives us a base of German law, and how it is practiced.Read more ›
The crimes range from the relatively mundane (an elderly man snaps after fifty years of marriage to a shrewish woman and kills her, a sister kills her disabled brother after years of caring for him) to the extreme (a museum guard destroys the piece he has been guarding for 23 years, a schizophrenic young man attempts to slice off a portion of the woman he is deeply in love with so that he can eat her). What is unveiled over the course of most of the stories is not the mundane matter of guilt or innocence, but the underlying psychology of the individuals, and in these cases, the narrator is keen to express their humanity. However in a few stories, such as one about about a mysterious mute man who kills two skinheads who attack him on a train platform, or another about a Lebanese boy who creates a perfect alibi for his criminal brother, the author seems more intent in showing how the law can sometimes be circumvented by the truly clever.
The stories are fascinating, not only for their details and presentation, but for the small insights they offer into contemporary German society.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written and entertaining. 4 stars rather than 5 though, for not being completely up front about the fact that these stories are not actually, strictly, true.Published 6 months ago by Madman
I decided to read ‘Crime’ by Ferdinand Von Schirach after reading ‘The Girl Who Wasn’t There’ as I was so impressed by the author’s writing. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gloria
Interesting and often disturbing case studies brilliantly written.Published 9 months ago by Mr. Jack Waterhouse
An interesting insight into the German psyche a d a particular time and how the actors in a system work to distort the legacy of history. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Anj Staplehurst
I'm not usually a short story person but I found this book incredibly hard to put down. A fantastic readPublished 13 months ago by Abbi G
Not the same riveting pleasure as the novels, but fascinating and rewarding nevertheless for those who wish there was more available from this author.Published 16 months ago by Moose Molloy
Brilliantly creative and very well written, but some of the stories are frankly distasteful. Certainly not for everyonePublished 23 months ago by Trikon