A dark and moving novel first published in German in 1934 it tells the story of Willi Kufult, released from prison, and trying to make a life for himself in Hamburg. But he cannot escape his past, and gradually becomes sucked into a world of drink, desperation and deceit.
'Crooks devour each other; that is part of the game . . . ' For Willi Kufult, prison life means staying out of trouble, keeping his cell clean, snagging a precious piece of tobacco - and dreaming of the day of his release. Then he gets out. As Willi tries to make a new life for himself in Hamburg, finding a job and even love, he still cannot escape his past. Gradually he becomes sucked into a world of drink, desperation and deceit, and with one terrible act, he is ensnared in a noose of his own making . . . Hans Fallada's dark and moving 1934 novel brilliantly describes a seedy criminal underworld of shabby lives and violent deeds, showing how our actions always catch up with us. 'Lit by love, the love of truth and love of humanity; it has the courage to look things in the eye, and to sketch them exactly as they are.' Hermann Hesse 'Absolutely on the money, from the slang of the cons, to the refuge of its hero in the blissful hermitage of prison.' Albert Ehrenstein