Ferdinand, The Man with the Kind Heart Buy from other retailers

Publication Date: Dec 8, 2020

256 pp


List Price US: $17.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-035-7

Trim Size: 5.24 x 7.96 x 0.68 in.

Ferdinand, The Man with the Kind Heart

A Novel

by Irmgard Keun Translated by Michael Hofmann

“[A] marvelous writer…infused with [Keun’s] trademark wit, candor, and emotional intensity…[Ferdinand] comprises a series of tightly packed vignettes and quietly captivating portraits…the prose has bite and charm.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Keun (1905–1982) shows a sure hand in this biting sendup of postwar Germany, full of absurd moments and amusing foibles. It’s a genuinely funny, ambling story full of sharp character studies.” —Publishers Weekly

“A decidedly unusual and often quite funny picture of a defeated people about to dust themselves off and become an economic power. Fans of Günter Grass will find Keun a kindred spirit in the meeting of the picaresque and the cynical.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Few postwar novelists were able to capture the mood of Germany as it recovered from its ‘former unlamented dictatorship’ as precisely and vigorously as Irmgard Keun. In Ferdinand, we’re led through Cologne’s ruins by a most engaging (and angst-ridden) tour guide who raves and rages and pinches our funny bone on nearly every page and who, in the end, makes us wonder if wars aren’t mere exercises in futility after all.” —David Abrams, author of Fobbit and Brave Deeds

“Keun’s novel is a captivating look at post–World War II Germany. The novel seems dreamy until you realize it’s the smoke from war creating the distortion. At the heart of the story is Ferdinand’s shockingly relevant tour of a society trying to cope with its altering identities and wrestling with the question: How do you adjust to your surroundings when your surroundings are adjusting to some new world order?” —Devin Murphy, bestselling author of The Boat Runner

Praise for Irmgard Keun:

“I want to tell everyone about Irmgard Keun…A great writer.” —Ali Smith

“Keun was possessed of a spectacular talent. She managed to convey the political horrors she lived through with the lightest possible touch, even flashes of humor.” —The Millions

“A formidable literary talent.” —Irish Times