''BÃ¶ll''s novel blows a stent in the human heart. . . It feels more necessary than ever.'' Anna Funder, from the introduction
''This is the best book I have read this year; not by miles, but by whole astronomical units; I am stunned by it as if by a blow. It is *astonishing* to the extent that I cannot convey to you its power'' Sarah Perry, bestselling author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth
Twenty-four-year-old Andreas, a disillusioned German soldier, is travelling on a troop train to the Eastern Front when he has an awful premonition that he will die in exactly five days. As he hurtles towards his death, he reflects on the chaos around him - the naÃ ve soldiers, the painfully thin girl who pours his coffee, the ruined countryside - with sudden, heart-breaking poignancy. Arriving in Poland the night before he is certain he will die, he meets Olina, a beautiful prostitute, and together they attempt to escape his fate...
''His work reaches the highest level of creative originality and stylistic perfection'' Daily Telegraph
''Boll combines a mammoth intelligence with a literary outlook that is masterful and unique'' Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22
''My most-admired contemporary novelist'' John Ashbery
''From the moment I stepped on board the troop train with Private Andreas, concerns pertaining to my own world fell away completely. Holding this impelling book is tantamount to holding the young soldier''s fate in one''s hands. It is impossible to let go.'' Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond