We Germans takes the form of a letter written by the now 90-year-old soldier to his grandson, telling him of his experiences in the war, and his grappling with the extent to which he feels guilt and shame about his own behaviour, and the behaviour of Germany. The novel is interrupted at various points by the grandson, who offers his own perspective on his grandfather.
Starritt delicately and deftly explores the moral considerations of a young soldier in that position, what he or anyone else would/should do, and whether a life of loving and sacrificing for your family post-war could make up for inhumane acts.
The storytelling is excellent, and totally gripping. It’s also very human; there are horrors, generally unseen but occasionally seen, and the events take place against this backdrop, but it’s more about the everyday experiences of soldiers, and among the horror and confusion there are moments of humour and life, as well as acts of great bravery and selflessness.