Ferdinand’s story consists of a dam of social niceties and hidden pasts, through cracks in which run only tiny rivulets of truth. Some readers might find in them the promise of a deluge, but Irmgard Keun never commits herself either way.
Irmgard Keun produced a series of fresh, wry, acutely perceptive novels that gave voice and agency to young, modern, single-minded German women in the feverish climate between the wars ... the novel is vintage Keun, infused with her trademark wit, candor and emotional intensity. Keun's narrative comprises a series of tightly packed vignettes and quietly captivating portraits. Some characters are fleeting cameos but others are forceful presences. Thanks to Michael Hofmann's translation, the prose has bite and charm. This may have been Keun's last book, but for those yet to discover her, it is as good a place as any to begin.
a short, charmingly absurd portrait of postwar Germany. Its cast of misfits bumbles through quixotic business ventures, genteel poverty, eviction, hapless romance, and even prison ... Sometimes author Irmgard Keun treats that horrible history with quiet but deadly sarcasm; however, sometimes she dashes it aside with a disturbing casualness ... more like a series of anecdotes and character sketches than a narrative. Certainly, this novel is unusual in the genre of World War II literature. For that reason alone, it’s worth reading.