Published by ECW Press in March, 2021.
Audiobook and eBook editions also available.
*A Globe and Mail spring 2021 recommended read*
In the tradition of The Book Thief and All The Light You Cannot See.
Ludwig is an odd and introverted child, growing up in Hitler’s Germany. While Ludwig’s father, Wilhelm, is a senior Nazi and a true believer, Ludwig escapes the unfolding catastrophe by withdrawing into nature and books. Eventually, when the Allied bombing campaign intensifies, Ludwig is sent to a Hitler Youth camp, where his oddness makes him a target for bullying.
As the war turns against Germany, the Hitler Youth camp becomes ever more severe and militaristic, and the atmosphere spirals towards chaos. After the Nazis abandon the camp, Ludwig returns home, and his father is presumed dead. With Ludwig’s mother descending into depression, the 11-year-old bears increasing responsibility for the survival of the family as starvation sets in under Russian occupation. Soon, it will be impossible to leave the Russian zone, so Ludwig decides that he must rally his despondent mother and lead her and his three younger siblings in an escape attempt to the west.
Based on the true story of the author's father, The Willow Wren is a unique, touching exploration of extremism, resilience, and the triumph of the small.
Praise for The Willow Wren:
"Written with sensitivity and narrative skill, Philipp Schott has gifted us a remarkable novel. Mr Schott pulls off the considerable feat of creating empathy for his characters without ever resorting to easy excuses for their sometimes indefensible choices. Overall, this is a fine, nuanced storytelling achievement." - Frederick Taylor, historian and bestselling author of Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany
"The Willow Wren is a novel to note. A blend of family memoirs and historical research, this is one of very few novels in English (Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and Leslie Wilson’s young adult novel Last Train from Kummersdorf being a couple of exceptions) dealing with the often harrowing experiences of children on the losing side of the Second World War. The author’s understated portrayal of his stoic, loving grandmother stands out especially, as does the way the family comes to terms with their Nazi past. The Willow Wren offers a compassionate reminder that there are human beings on either side of any conflict. Well done." - Winnipeg Free Press
"This beautifully-written tale is based on the early life of the author’s father. Throughout the story Schott alternates between displays of sardonic humour and setting some truly poignant and heart-wrenching scenes. Ludwig, the boyhood version of Schott’s father, is a shy yet assertive lad whose totem is a willow wren and who loves nature and contemplation. Anyone who liked the child stargazers in Pan’s Labyrinth or Jojo Rabbit will appreciate this character. But of equal interest is the boy’s intellectual, Latin-quoting father, who—surprisingly—is a local Nazi Party official. Schott thus challenges our understanding of this usually boorish caste of men and leaves us to wonder how the products of even the most literate and well-educated families could be seduced politically by the likes of Hitler. Morally complex and nuanced, this book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand a difficult period in German history." - Dr. Perry Biddiscombe, historian and author of The Last Nazis: SS Werewolf Guerilla Resistance in Europe 1944-1947
"The Willow Wren vividly describes the challenges faced by a sensitive boy in Germany during WW II, and what everyday civilian life must have been like during and after those terrible times." - Atanas Sileika, critic, former head of the Humber School of Writing, and author of Buying on Time
Published by ECW Press in 2019.
A bestselling collection of stories and essays from Philipp's three decades as a small animal veterinarian.
Nominated for the Eileen Mctavish Sykes award for first book.
The Accidental Veterinarian has been translated into Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Russian and Chinese.
Audiobook and eBook editions also available.
“For all animal lovers, veterinary tales are always amusing, amazing, entertaining, and, once in a while, sad. Few books . . . approach the combination of fine writing, radical honesty, and endless optimism found in Winnipeg practitioner Schott’s . . . Laugh until you cry — and believe, as he says, that all that really matters is that the heart of the pet (and its owner) is pure.” — Booklist Starred Review
“Crammed with useful information, humorous recollections, personal reflections and a few anecdotes you shouldn't read while eating, but which will appeal to any pet owner . . . Schott’s writing has a conversational tone that makes for easy, enjoyable reading . . . The Accidental Veterinarian is sure to tug at the heartstrings of any pet owner, as well as help them appreciate the role of the trained professionals who treat their animals in sickness and in health.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“Who amongst us animal lovers hasn’t fantasized being a vet? Well, read Philipp Schott’s highly entertaining and informative book and learn exactly what you’d be in for — all the poignancy, hilarity, and plain hard work. You may decide to keep your day job, but you’ll be a much better animal companion for having picked up the many insider tips Schott imparts.” — Barbara Gowdy, award-winning author of The White Bone and Helpless
“This set of short anecdotes is warm, funny, poignant and educational. Any animal lover will be pleased.” — Malcolm Avenue Review
“Schott’s writing is engagingly conversational and showcases his colorful sense of humor . . . Educational, entertaining and compassionate, this confluence of happy accidents is a must-read for anyone who is, loves or works with a veterinarian.” — Shelf Awareness
“Dr. Schott is the kind of vet we all want for our animals. Schott’s The Accidental Veterinarian is filled with heartwarming stories any animal lover will enjoy. It’s informative and entertaining, much like our pets themselves!” — Teresa Rhyne, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Dog Lived (and So Will I)