An interesting post-war (about 1953) West German novel, this depicts the Germans as unable to live in their past but unwilling to let it go and look forward to the future. This is no expose of Nazi rejuvenation, but rather a portrait of the state of suspended animation in which people find themselves, to whom the Nazi-years were lost years, either because they were anti-Nazi or because they were personally uninvolved. Two eleven-year-old boys, Martin and Heinrich, are the points of focus through which the actions of their elders are seen. The adults surrounding Martin are middle class, monied, but disintegrating; those surrounding Heinrich are poor, vulgar, uneducated, but hanging on. When the hates and loves from the past crumble away, some of the characters just collapse, more find new strength to pull themselves up and go on. Chapters are told from different points of view and the reader gains considerable understanding of each one -- though the structure, as a whole, has little emotional strength and unity. This is too bad, because the novel is interesting and probably gives a lot more truth about Germany today than many non-fiction books do.