We find this hall-of-mirrors construction in Uwe Johnson, Peter Handke and others. But Andersch manipulates it with an ease and unpretentiousness that are seductively disorienting, until the reader himself is dissolved into that bittersweet sigh, in equal measure humorous and despairing, that is Efraim's Book—John Simon, New York Times Book Review
Efraim’s Book is the sophisticated, offbeat novel about the peculiar society of post-World-II Berlin. Its hero George Efraim is a Jewish reporter who has fought for the British on the Italian front and lost both parents to Auschwitz. He returns home to Berlin in 1962 for the first time since the war to investigate the wartime disappearance of his editor’s daughter, only to begin writing a novel, which helps him "to embark on a certain arrangement of signs with the help of which I hope to chart my position." Like the great German novels of Günter Grass and Heinrich Böll, Alfred Andersch’s Efraim’s Book grapples with the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust in all its horror and sad humanity. A troubling yet often humorous book, it offers a poignant account of the traumatized German state.