Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

Friday, Jul 29, 2011

Eloquent, intense, terrifying… This novel has been called the ultimate and definitive novel of German resistance during WWII. An elderly laborer and his wife learn of the death of their only son on the Western Front. They are not interested in politics or patriotism. They want only to live their mundane and predictable lives in peace. Even the loss of their son does not initially move them to act. Besides, what is one to do? You will lose your ration cards, your job, your apartment…maybe more. And if one was to try...how could you affect anything so big? So ruthless? So cruel?

But as threats to friends increase, an idea begins to take shape. It’s very simple, and yet, perhaps it will help. Perhaps others have lost children to the senseless slaughter and will resist, too.

A Gestapo detective is in search of this agitator. How can this be happening right in the heart of Berlin! He is confident he will find this trouble-maker, given time. He is a detective, after all. He’s patient. He will piece together the clues, and allow the culprit time to reveal himself. But his supervisor is impatient…a brutal Nazi thug, really. No real understanding of the art of investigation… And the detective also becomes a target… of the supervisor who wants results.

Author Hans Fallada is absolutely artful in creating the intense, suspenseful, paranoid atmosphere of Berlin under the Nazis. After all, he survived it himself, barely. And the story is based on a true case.

Written by Kathy B.