Guiltfrom Guilt: stories by Ferdinand von Schirach

Silly me, once again, the New York Times has to tell me about an author.

This guy is a pistol, the first story takes place at a town fair, it’s a local attraction, and the town turns out in droves. The band is the central figure of this story, comes on the stage right away and takes everyone’s breath away.

The economy of this story, the sheer speed of the prose, is breathtaking. There isn’t a moment wasted, a sentence too heavy with metaphor, or a silly cliché. A girl brings over a few drinks, gravity teaches a lesson and presto, we have an awful, awful crime.

The running theme to their collection is guilt, and how it grows on these characters. By the time the crime has been committed, and we meet the young idealistic lawyer that defends one of the band members, you’ll be riveted to the page.

The details of this story are everything — the wooden benches, the father on the steps weeping, and the fungus in a crime scene evidence bag. It all wraps itself neatly into a horrific event.

There is another collection by Ferdinand von Schirach called Crime, which focuses on actual crimes. It is impossibly thrilling to know I’ve got not only this book waiting for me, but another one too.