Perhaps it’s appropriate that arguably our best surviving depiction of the Weimar Republic was written by a ghost. Like a desperate, unsparing episode of iCarly, parents and caregivers are notable among the pages of Blood Brothers only for their absence; adults color in the margins as authoritarian and unforgiving, at best shrugging sadly to these kids hungering for better work than pickpocketing and prostitution that they’d love to help but hey, sorry, no papers means no job and them’s The Rules. Doomed to the margins of Berlin, these bureaucratically invisible tramps naturally coagulate, establish their own underclass and fight it out where the rich can see but the police can’t. A decade prior, they were children barely aged enough for grade school, doughy reflections of the dead (or deadbeat) guardians they’d soon lose at Gavrilo Princip’s behest; a decade hence, they’d either be marched off to a death camp or the Sudetenland. But here in the valley between declared wars lie the battles of everyday existence validated by a writer who, maybe, marched off to a similar fate. The colors rot off your sight to read it.