Bombed-out Cologne after the war is a strange place to be. The black market in jam and corsets is booming, half-destroyed houses offer opportunities for stealing doors and eggcups, and de-Nazification parties are all the rage. Ferdinand - daydreamer, former prisoner of war, wearer of a curious jerkin - drifts around the city, observing life's absurdities, strenuously avoiding his fiancée and drinking brandy with his fabulous cousin. When he gets a job as a 'cheerful adviser' to those down on their luck, will Ferdinand's fortunes change too? Irmgard Keun's exuberantly funny and touching final novel takes the tiny moments of triumph and defeat in one man's life, and turns them into a moving portrait of the human spirit.