The Case of Sergeant Grischa (Tusk Ivories) - Arnold Zweig

An astonishing, devastating novel. It's been a very long time since I read anything that got under my skin so much. The night when I tried to go to bed with about sixty pages left to read I found I couldn't sleep.

This book is an outstanding example of how good writing elevates whatever the subject is -- the story could easily have been sentimental and the moralizing heavy-handed (there are one or two moments that the author doesn't quite pull off) but it turned out beautifully. The last chapter is just the perfect finish for it.

People can be terrible to one another and the state of the world is bad, but a thin thread of hope remains.