I feel this to be the most moving novel that has come out of the tragic years of post-war Germany, and a novel which will be well worth pushing to offset what is undoubtedly a sated market. Here, through a rather ingenious narrative network the various ideologies, prejudices, loyalties are brought into full play through the lives of five children, born in 1920 and reaching semi-adolescent awareness as the Fascist regime comes into power. Although the families of each had been brought into contact, circumstantially, through external forces, the children had happened on each other -- and since early childhood banded together. The center link is Manja, a Polish Jewess, a child of unusual strength and imagination. It is upon her that the virulence of the new creed falls, as one by one the children cannot stand by her, and Manja, after invective, humiliation, and finally rape, suicides. A story of scarred and lost childhood in a deadened world, intense and powerful. And a restrained and poetic prose style.