Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: Every Man Dies Alone

It’s not exactly light summer reading, but for readers in the northern hemisphere, where you are moving into winter, you may want to curl up in a chair by the fireplace with this book.

Every Man Dies Alone, by Hans Fallada (2009, Melville House Publishing), is a recently published, never before translated work by a long-deceased successful German author who lived through the Nazi regime – even spending time in a Nazi insane asylum.

This is not a joyful book, but it is a terrific read. One blurb on the cover, written by holocaust survivor and author Primo Levi, reads: “The greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis.”

The publisher’s synopsis: “In a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis, the book tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple’s decision to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Third Reich, Otto and Anna Quangel launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has the Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

“In the end, Every Man Dies Alone is more than an edge-of-you-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order – it’s a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what’s right, and for each other.”

I loved it. Let me know if you would like to borrow it.

1 comment:

Mike Patterson said...

This was the first book I read by Fallada. I read it in the original German, an
ability for which I am very grateful. I fully agree with your assessment, in that, there could be no better description of day-to-day life in National Socialist Germany than this book. As a follower of Primo Levi, Ishould add, Fallada's book certainly passed an acid test with his approval.