Hans Ulrich Treichel’s novel Daybreak is effectively a pietà in prose. An elderly woman cradles her middle-aged son, dead after long illness, and at last feels free to express to herself – and to us – elements of the drama that has framed her life, which only in appearance has been ordinary (what is ordinary?) and banal.

How litte we know of one another! How limited is our notion of what others may be carrying, what heroism they may be called upon to exercise simply to rise in the morning!

‘Have we not passed along a steep mountain pass?’ asks the narratrix towards the end of her story. Indeed she has. And she has enabled the reader to get a sense of the risks run at such altitude.