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Punishment

On sale

18th August 2022

Price: £12.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529345681

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‘The stories are cool, meticulously crafted, pithy and mordantly amusing . . . [an] extremely powerful book. Highly recommended’ Irish Times

‘Psychologically raw . . . [von Schirach’s] unfussy prose is icily effective’ Financial Times

‘One of the most distinctive voices in European literature’ Daily Telegraph

A young lawyer puts aside her sense of justice to succeed at her new firm.

A man who values silence is driven to murder by his noisy neighbours.

A cheated wife seeks revenge.

How do you decide what punishment fits the crime?

Our narrator is a man you’d never want to meet unless you really needed him. A nameless criminal defence lawyer, he coolly narrates the fate of twelve characters who cross his path. In spare, gripping prose, he tells their stories, uncovering the loneliness and alienation, desire and desperation which drive their choices and shape the consequences they face.

Drawn from Ferdinand von Schirach’s eminent career as a criminal defence lawyer, Punishment masterfully treads the line between fiction and truth, each meticulously crafted story crackling with white-knuckle suspense and vivid characters who stay with you long after the final page.

Translated from the German by Katharina Hall

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Reviews

Christian House, Financial Times
Psychologically raw . . . delivered in a crisp translation by Katharina Hall, his unfussy prose is icily effective . . . it suggests that all justice systems are flawed, that they are all just processes. And, with immense empathy, von Schirach's stories show what happens to people when they are processed.
Bookmunch
An impressive page-turner with substance and bite
To the Ends of the Word blog
Thrilling and edgy, often carrying a twist in the tale
Declan Hughes, Irish Times
The stories are cool, meticulously crafted, pithy and mordantly amusing . . . this is an unsettling, affecting, extremely powerful book. Highly recommended
Daily Mail
Translated with economical elegance by Hall . . . and informed by insider knowledge . . . it's a chilling insight into a flawed justice system, the people who work in it and the guilty and guileless who find themselves judged