The Whistlers’ Room

Paul Alverdes

A vivid and delicate WWI novel set in a German hospital, where soldiers with throat injuries known as ‘the Whistlers' recover from their injuries.
Publication date:
April 2017
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Series :
Casemate Classic War Fiction
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612004662

Dimensions : 190 X 132 mm
In Stock

Regular Price: £7.99

Special price £3.95

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• Third season of Casemate's successful Classic War Fiction series

Portrays life for injured soldiers in a German hospital during WWI

Beautiful and moving depiction of friendship overcoming barriers

The Whistlers' Room is the surprisingly gentle, sensitive story of a section in a German hospital where three soldiers try to recover from battle injuries. They are known as the Whistlers, as all were shot in the throat and their breathing results in a sound "like the squeaking of mice". The author vividly captures the strong young men the soldiers used to be and the battered, wounded people they have become. Pointner, whose obstinacy in holding onto an English sniper's cap means he is mistaken for the enemy, is the worst injured of the trio. Kollin continually dreams that he is cured, and for a brief, heart-breaking moment his breathing appears to be free when he awakes. The precarious balance of life in the hospital shifts when Harry, an English prisoner of war, becomes another whistler. His initial reception by the other patients, and his eventual acceptance into their group, reminds us of what must be so blatant day-in day-out in a hospital: men are all the same regardless of the country they fight for.

The story progresses through a simple series of vignettes which are delicately presented without demanding empathy or flinging the reader into a maelstrom of emotion. It is all the more rare, precious and powerful as a result.


The latest title in Casemate's brilliant war fiction series, The Whistlers Room was first published in 1929, this edition having been translated from the original German. Alverdes himself was wounded in the throat and what he describes in the book was largely based on his own personal experiences. Extreely atmospheric and poignant. A real gem.
Books Monthly