Title: Every Man Dies Alone
Author: Hans Fallada
Publisher: Melville House
Reading period: 2–24 August, 2010
Every Man Dies Alone was published in German in 1947,
and became a “surprise bestseller” after it was translated into English in 2009.
It's a novel of the little-known German resistance against the Nazis,
loosely based on true events.
Otto and Anna Quangel are apolitical, middle-aged, working class Berliners,
who become radicalized after the death of their son early in the War.
Otto starts writing seditious postcards and dropping them in public buildings,
hoping to foment unrest.
The Gestapo grow furiouser as this goes on for two years,
and several people are caught up in their dragnet
before they eventually catch the Quangels.
Fallada is very good at capturing the paranoia and the aloneness
of the ordinary Germans living in the Nazi police state.
Even Gestapo inspectors have reason to be fearful.
Fallada had, of course, just lived through it himself, under some degree of suspicion.
The plotting and the characterization are clumsy
and not as good as the atmosphere.