Davies' skill lies in bringing the characters to life and invoking in the reader mixed feelings of sympathy, horror, loathing, anger and understanding. Nothing is in black and white. Yet it is not a depressing read. There is hope in the ending, through the attitudes and beliefs of the younger generation. Written with a number of flashbacks to the war itself, the novel gives a clear picture of what occupied Germany was like in the years immediately after World War II. Well worth reading, if only for Davies' delightful prose.