Synopses & Reviews
About the Author
Hans Fallada was the pseudonym of Rudolph Ditzen, who was born in 1893 in Berlin, the son of a superior court judge. Prior to WWII, his novels were international bestsellers. But when Jewish producers in Hollywood made his 1932 novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture, the rising Nazis began to take note of him. His struggles increased after he refused to join the Party and was denounced by neighbors for “anti-Nazi” sympathies. Unlike many other prominent artists, however, Fallada decided not to flee Germany. By the end of World War II he’d suffered an alcohol-fueled nervous breakdown and was in a Nazi insane asylum, where he nonetheless managed to write—in code—the brilliant subversive novel, The Drinker. After the war, Fallada went on to write Every Man Dies Alone, based on an actual Gestapo file, but he died in 1947 of a morphine overdose, just before it was published.
About the Translator
Michael Hofmann is the translator of many of the twentieth century's leading authors in German, including Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Thomas Bernhard, and is the winner of the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize.
Geoff Wilkes (Afterword) is a Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Queensland and perhaps the world's foremost English-speaking expert on Hans Fallada. He is the author of Hans Fallada's Crisis Novels 1931-1947.
"Fallada keeps readers engaged with passionate prose that rushes events along at a thriller-like pace. And there's stark grandeur in the closing chapters....A very welcome resurrection for a great writer crucified by history." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"The greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis." Primo Levi
"Fallada's description of the couple's stand against the Nazi machine read like a thriller, but it was also a fine-grained portrait of wartime Berlin and a moral tour de force." Very Short List
"Hans Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone is one of the most extraordinary and compelling novels ever written about World War II. Ever. Fallada lived through the Nazi hell, so every word rings true — this is who they really were: the Gestapo monsters, the petty informers, the few who dared to resist. Please, do not miss this." Alan Furst, bestselling author of Kingdom of Shadows and The Spies of Warsaw
"[T]his novel...testifies to the lasting value of an intact, if battered, conscience....To read Every Man Dies Alone...is to be accompanied by a wise, somber ghost who grips your shoulder and whispers into your ear: 'This is how it was. This is what happened.'" Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review
"Based on the Gestapo files of a real couple, Fallada's story is powerful and bleak, an anguished lament that resistance is necessary yet futile." Booklist
"Every Man Dies Alone [is] one of the most immediate and authentic fictional accounts of life during the long nightmare of Nazi rule." The New York Observer
"Based on true-life events, Every Man Dies Alone is deeply compelling and endlessly heartbreaking in its depiction of the lives of everyday people living under an oppressive regime. Fallada adroitly floats from one character to the next, weaving a tapestry of interior dialogues and motivations. This novel recalls Dostoevsky's ability to feature a central protagonist, yet give life to the voices of other characters, never allowing a singularly dominating point of view." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
This never-before-translated masterpiece is based on a true story. It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front.
This never-before-translated masterpiece — by a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble when he wouldn't join the Nazi Party — is based on a true story.
It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides 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 Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.
In the end, it's more than an edge-of-your-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 each other.
From the author of Sepharad comes an internationally best-selling novel set against the tumultuous events that led to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
October 1936. Spanish architect Ignacio Abel arrives at Penn Station, the final stop on his journey from war-torn Madrid, where he has left behind his wife and children, abandoning them to uncertainty. Crossing the fragile borders of Europe, he reflects on months of fratricidal conflict in his embattled country, his own transformation from a bricklayers son to a respected bourgeois husband and professional, and the all-consuming love affair with an American woman that forever alters his life.
Winner of the 2012 Prix Méditerranée Étranger and hailed as a masterpiece, In the Night of Time is a sweeping, grand novel and an indelible portrait of a shattered society, written by one of Spains most important contemporary novelists.
About the Author
Before WWII , German writer Hans Fallada’s novels were international bestsellers, on a par with those of his countrymen Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. In America, Hollywood even turned his first big novel, Little Man, What Now?
into a major motion picture.
Learning the movie was made by a Jewish producer, however, Hitler decreed Fallada’s work could no longer be sold outside Germany, and the rising Nazis began to pay him closer attention. When he refused to join the Nazi party he was arrested by the Gestapo—who eventually released him, but thereafter regularly summoned him for “discussions” of his work.
However, unlike Mann, Hesse, and others, Fallada refused to flee to safety, even when his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a private boat to rescue him. The pressure took its toll on Fallada, and he resorted increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. After Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel, he snapped and found himself imprisoned in an asylum for the “criminally insane”—considered a death sentence under Nazi rule. To forestall the inevitable, he pretended to write the assignment for Goebbels, while actually composing
three encrypted books—including his tour de force novel The Drinker—in such dense code that they were not deciphered until long after his death.
Fallada outlasted the Reich and was freed at war’s end. But he was a shattered man. To help him recover by putting him to work, Fallada’s publisher gave him the Gestapo file of a simple, working-class couple who had resisted the Nazis. Inspired, Fallada completed Every Man Dies Alone in just twenty-four days.
He died in February 1947, just weeks before the book’s publication.