Journal Title

Federal Lawyer Online


April 2014



First Page


Document Type

Book Review

Publication Information



Ferdinand von Schirach is a German criminal defense lawyer who has previously published two vivid and brilliant short story collections. His latest book, The Collini Case: A Novel, like his short stories, gives the reader telling details that offer insights into the human condition. But The Collini Case seems less interested in its characters than in teaching about the continuing stain of Germany’s past. This leads von Schirach to use stock figures who have suffered stock tragedies and who engage in stock actions. The novel is simply not realistic enough to suspend disbelief, and only barely avoids being a melodrama. Despite these criticisms, however, The Collini Case resonates because of its connections to Germany’s sordid history, reminding readers that, as Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It continues to haunt the present.

Recommended Citation

Michael S. Ariens, The Collini Case: A Novel (book review), Fed. Law. Online 8 (Apr. 2014).

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