This book has a partiuclarly melancholic beauty. It gives an idea what it must have been like to be on a submarine, the seemingly interminable periods of inaction, the irritability and the boredom, the stress of a sudden altercation with an enemy ship, the thinness of that line between life and death, and the sheer desperation that leads to pondering the existence of a fly on the U-boot. Herr Buchheim easily manages to develop an atmosphere of closeness, humidity, staleness and camaraderie. Because of the depth of feeling and the spread of emtions this is easily a book to get lost in, only to feel exhausted when it is finished. Sublime.