Crime And Guilt
- Publication Date:
- 06 September 2012
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-4 out of 4 reviews.
Good entertaining tales of a few unusual cases of a German criminal defense attorney. Each is a short story and the book is a quick read. The adage that "you cannot make this stuff up" comes to mind.
Obwohl ich sonst nicht unbedingt ein Fan von Erzählungen bin, haben mir von Schirachs Geschichten sehr gut gefallen. Dabei geht es weniger darum, ob sie spannend sind oder nicht - sie sind glaubhaft und das macht für mich die Faszination aus. Die Charaktere sind vielschichtig, Leute wie du und ich mit guten und bösen Facetten. Auch wir könnten dort auf der Anklagebank sitzen....
The author of CRIME, Ferdinand von Schirach is a criminal lawyer in Berlin. He's also an extremely good storyteller.The stories incorporated in CRIME (as the publicity material puts it) were specifically chosen to demonstrate the relationships between truth and reason, law and compassion. They are real-life cases from the author's own experience. The subject matter, frankly, is frequently much much easier to imagine as fictional - but they are not. Whilst it's clear they are tales chosen to trigger certain emotions and reactions in the reader, in von Schirach's hands, the telling isn't overblown or overtly manipulative. There's something restrained, dry, matter-of-fact in the author's storytelling which makes the subject matter striking, but somehow more palatable (for want of a better word). Palatable only in the reading mind you. Consideration of what is happening in each of these tales, on the other hand, is more challenging.There's lots of things to find interesting about this book - not just the nature of truth, reason, law and compassion, but also the more practical elements - the way that the justice system works in Germany, the glimpses into the world of the criminal lawyer. More than once I finished one of these stories wondering how it is that people get themselves into these situations, and how they ended up on von Schirach's doorstep afterwards. Perhaps the first part of that statement is what the book does best - really makes you wonder / think / consider the nature of justice.The only downside to the book is that it might be best to read in small snippets - a story at a time, and then give yourself some thinking time and then onto the next. I certainly have found myself drawn back to reading some of the entries again, which, for somebody with a lot of reading matter available to them, is about the highest praise I can think of.
These stories from defense lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach are truly startling in their originality and their willingness to delve into the grusome depths of the criminal psyche. Narrated with the unemotional, clinical detachment of someone with no stake in the outcome, von Shirach's grotesque tales of murder and mayhem examine the often twisted and surprising journey from the conception and execution of the criminal act itself to the punishment handed down by the justice system. The reader is usually given plenty of background information on the perpetrator, placing the crime within a context that explains why and how it was committed. Surprisingly, there is room for compassion in these stories, and the justice system will treat an offender with leniency when such is warranted. The author knows how to create suspense and tension, but downplays overt literary tricks and simply allows the events he is describing to pull the reader along. There is nothing fancy in these pages. The writing is terse, and the stories are each assembled in a formulaic fashion, like an episode of Law & Order. All of this is admirable and effective. Crime is compulsively readable, impossible to put down.
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