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Little Man, What Now?
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Little Man, What Now?

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,512 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Since its first publication in 1933, this novel has become a world classic. It provides a vivid, poignant picture of life in Germany just before Hitler's takeover and focuses on a young married couple struggling to survive in the country's nightmarish inflation.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Academy Chicago Publishers (first published 1932)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,983)
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3.5 stars
This tale is a sweetly naïve, charming description of a couple's relationship and survival through economic hard times in Berlin 1932. It is a response to social stories of the day, of bleak futures on the horizon as poverty, conflict and social disorder dominated everyday life. Fallada draws on his observations of many Berliners left jobless and despairing by the depression. In 1932 when Little Man What Now? was published, 42% of German workers were unemployed and further cast into des
Hans Fallada must have been a lover, because he hits every detail. The babytalk, the little spats and the guilt that follows, the waffling from boundless optimism to despondency over the course of the day, the overwhelming sense of well-being and accomplishment two people get from making dinner or the budget together - or from forgiving each other (the story of the dressing table!).

Fallada wants to defend the lovers' right to their naivete, to their apolitical existence - to defend the "little
The book is written in Germany of 1932. One year before Hitler came to power.

I first read this in Swedish a few years ago. The Swedish title, What'll Become Of The Pinnebergs? is a bit cheesy; it sounds a bit like a 30s comedy, which of course it is in a way, but it doesn't seem to have the weight of the original's Little Man, What Now? At the same time I can't help but like the title, as if it's setting us up less to see a warning (which it is) and more to see the people in it, as a (which it a
A lovely story of a young couple trying to make ends meet. The hardships placed on this couple, through no fault of their own, are still valid and around us today. Poverty can strike anyone, jobs are scarce and insecure, one feels as if one is a cog in a giant wheel with no control.
Pinneberg and Bunny work hard to find their way in this harsh reality. They do it with goodness, naivete, courage, love and faith that all will be well. They are the everyman of their time.
Fallada tells this story w
Kasa Cotugno
Little Man, What Now? tells the story of a couple so ordinary they are immediately recognizeable to today's reader, even though the book was written in 1932, during the chaotic days of the Weimer Republic on the threshold of the Nazis' rise to power. Nazis are around, but are regarding and portrayed as thugs with the overriding concerns for the newly married couple in the center of the story being mere survival. As with Every Man Dies Alone,many minor characters are so well fleshed out rendering ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Alan by: Corey Mesler
Shelves: novels
although at points I felt this was rushed, as though the author was just putting down what he felt like (eg naturism an answer to economic crisis! Although that did add to its charm), this was an absorbing, fascinating read. A couple on the poverty line face life in 1932 Germany, the Weimar republic on the brink of collapse, and Nazis on the rise. The counting of every pfennig, the absurdities of the hierarchies in the various shops and offices where the unfortunate Pinneburg (sorry that may be ...more
Amy Neftzger
An interesting read that gives insight into what it was like to be a white collar worker in Berlin just prior to WWII. This is a fictional account of two newlyweds, but it should be noted that the author did extensive research on the subject and managed to portray an accurate picture of the struggles at the time. What makes the book so engaging is the humorous aspect that pervades the story - some critics have compared the main character to Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp. A series of unfortunate ...more
Set during the lead up to Nazism in Germany in the 1930s, this novel focuses on the "little man," an ordinary guy & his wife, and how they struggle to get by. Both Johannes, a/k/a Sonny (his wife's nickname for him) and Mia (a/k/a Lambchen) are characters you care deeply about, and whose efforts simply to get by, are both heartrending and at times comical. Fallada's descriptions of their interactions are truly the best "newlywed" experiences I've ever read. Hitler makes no appearance in this ...more
What a well written story, that was not at all like I expected it to be going in. This was selected for a book club discussion, and I was expecting some dark, depression story, yet the relationship of the characters in this book was very touchy, often humorous, and very engrossing. Amazing how well the author was able to capture the relationships and thoughts of people, and amazing how little has changed in the last 80+ years since this was written. Human nature stays the same.
Op aanraden van een kennis las ik Falladas roman "Alleen in Berlijn". Ik was meteen zo verslingerd dat ik de week nadien op zoek ging naar de rest van zijn oeuvre.
"Wat nu, kleine man" verscheen al in 1932, maar blijft - op enkele details na - ongelooflijk actueel.
In eenvoudige taal beschrijft Fallada alledaagse situaties van doodgewone mensen, en dat zonder enige pretentie of sensatiezucht.
Doorgaans heb ik een hartsgrondige hekel aan alles wat nog maar ruikt naar "reality". Maar Fallada schrijft
Avrete sperimentato tutti la piccolezza. Quella condizione dell'essere che ti prende e ti trasferisce direttamente in un film che mai sarà (o forse sarà, oppure ne troverete qualche scena qua e là, se saprete cercare bene), del tuo occhio fa una soggettiva e dell'oggetto del tuo sguardo un gigante. Inquadratura dal basso verso l'alto, luce che si dirama in mille piccoli raggi, la cui fonte è nascosta dall'enormità del tuo interlocutore. Tu, un minuscolo microbo, lui, un sacro totem. Voce roboant ...more
This is a tender story of a young couple living in Germany during the economic hard times between the two world wars. We watch them slip from starry-eyed, working class youth to impoverished, crushed young parents desperately clinging to their mutual love to survive. The characters, the dialogue, the emotions were beautifully drawn with simplicity and clarity
Jennifer W
I'm not entirely sure how the author did it, but he managed to take a poor, down on their luck couple in 1930s Germany and make them real, humorous, likable and relatable. The fact that he managed to do this without depressing the hell out of me is all the more startling. Things go from bad to worse for our young couple, and yet, there's still a strong sense of optimism. Given how Fallada's life had transpired, I'm not at all sure where this wellspring comes from, but he has harnessed it beautif ...more
Man muss Lämmchen und Hannes Pinneberg einfach mögen! Unverdorben, ein wenig blauäuig, aber immer mit jeder Menge Herz meistern sie gemeinsam ihre ersten Ehejahre und die Ankunft ihres Murkels. Obwohl sie von der Weltwirtschaftskrise arg gebeutelt werden, verlieren sie nie den ehrlichen Weg und machen sich gegenseitig Mut. Vor allem Lämmchen durchläuft hierbei eine großartige Entwicklung und aus dem anfänglichen kleinen Dummchen wird bald eine reife Frau, deren Optimismus und Tatkraft unerschütt ...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu


Hans Fallada nu este un povestitor. Fallada îngheață timpul și oameni după care le insuflă viață și le-o oferă cititorului. Fallada nu este scriitorul care să umble la cutia cu metafore, la scriitura stilizată care să te facă să trăiești melancolia, suferința, chinul personajelor. Fallada nu face apel la jonglerii care să te manipuleze subtil și să-ți înfigă pe sub piele povestea care va crește c
==About little cogs in the big wheel==
To review this book must involve crediting its accurate portrayal of historical circumstances and Fallada's own personal background which strongly flavour this novel. Pinneberg, the "little man," is enmeshed in the futility of the hand-to-mouth existence of a white-collar worker in early 1930s Germany. His wife, whom he calls Lammchen, is his sole inspiration, comforter and moral compass. The readers follow these two through Lammchen's pregnancy and the birt
Today we are in a recession. Parents of my students won't let them come to homework club because it means wasting gas on two trips to school. For Hans and Bunny a recession means much worse. Let us add to it by the fact Bunny is pregnant, and Hans has difficulty staying employed in various men's shops, they have no family to help them, and they live in Berlin in 1932. Every night there is potatoes for dinner and surprising expenses like the baby. As a counterbalance to all this grimness Hans and ...more
Neal Adolph
I read this book years ago, but I'm thinking on it now. I would love to read it again, though another of his works is awaiting my attention on my book shelf. But there are few pieces of literature that I have read that really get to the entrapment of poverty without feeling preachy. The Jungle, by Sinclair, doesn't quite succeed in this respect, though I think that it too is incredible in its story telling to be entirely believable to most readers. And Hunger, by Hamsun, isn't about entrapment s ...more
Tyler Ochs
Considered a German literature classic, "Little Man, What Now?" is the story of Sonny and Lamchen as they prepare to raise a family a depression faced Germany. During a time of hyperinflation and lack of job opportunities, Sonny must find work to provide for his wife Lamchen as well as his unborn son, Shrimp. Hans Fallada does a phenomenal job of introducing the reader to what life would be like in pre-Nazi Germany. We see in the book how the ideas of National Socialism start to overtake Germany ...more
Danny Marcalo
This one is not unlike other Fallada novels. As with for example "Wer einmal aus dem Blechnapf frisst", the protagonists are people who are disenfranchised, not entirely because of their choosing. Johannes Pinneberg is not unemployed for most of the plot, but he always feels like he is because of the fragility of his job. What is also part of his story as it is with all Fallada heroes is that he is also an impulsive man, who is not as diplomatic as would do him good. Still, Pinneberg is likable, ...more
This "darkly enchanting" novel is definitely dark though not so enchanting. I would have preferred the translator to leave the protagonist's nickname as Junge rather than Sonny, which I found distracting along with the Shrimp for the child. Nonetheless, the story does seem to capture the sense of foreboding in German society during the Depression and is well-worth reading for anyone who wants a microcosmic view of this time period before Hitler's takeover.
Daniel Butler
I found this book quite moving. More than once I had to dry my eyes. And that speaks to the effective simplicity with which Fallada writes here. It isn't didactic, nor hifalutin. Our two protagonists are sympathetic without being pitiable. They are hardly complex characters; this is no dissection of the human soul, but rather the human struggle. That struggle is starkly depicted; the gut twisting fear of living in an ambivalent if not outright hostile world is ever-present, but beautiful intersp ...more
"Co dalej, szary człowieku?" to słusznie nagradzana powieść obyczajowa o młodym małżeństwie z Niemiec czasu kryzysu. Dwudziestoparolatkowie muszą zmierzyć się z dorosłym życiem bez większych perspektyw - walczyć o źle opłacaną pracę, najmować kolejne najtańsze mieszkania, zmierzyć się z wychowywaniem dziecka i planowaniem budżetu na skraju nędzy. Książka pomimo ponurego tematu pokazuje, że mimo wszystko nadal daje się żyć przez wiele miesięcy, nawet jeśli jutro wydaje się być absolutnym końcem. ...more
Gisela Hafezparast
If you want to know what it felt like to be an average German between the wars and how they let the Nazis get to the top, you MUST read that all of Hans Fallada's books. Together with Max Frisch's books this will help. Brilliant read also as a very good story and very moving.
‘En plotseling begrijpt Pinneberg alles, nu hij deze agent, al deze fatsoenlijke mensen, en deze blinkende spiegelruit ziet. Hij begrijpt dat hij hier niet meer bij hoort, dat men hem met recht wegjaagt. Hij is gestruikeld, uitgegeleden, aan lager wal geraakt, afgeschreven. Een keurig uiterlijk: vroeger, lang geleden. Arbeid en een zeker bestaan: vroeger, lang geleden. Verder komen in de wereld en hopen op de toekomst: alles vroeger, vroeger, vroeger. Armoede betekent niet alleen ellende. Armoed ...more
The era is one in which I enjoy reading but this book simply annoyed me. To be fair, It could have been just the translation. If I read the word "Shrimp" one more time I could have screamed.

The novel lacked depth for me and while the era was presented realistically, the protagonist couple wasn't. After three years, no arguments, blame or resentment? Endless lovey dovey, dear heart sweetie amongst a couple in that much economic turmoil is not very realistic in my experience.

I feel Fallada did m
I'm adding an extra star today. I finished this yesterday, and I can't stop wondering what happened to this compelling little German family during WWII. That's a sign of a great story. The style isn't what I usually read. It's the style of contemporary, "literary" fiction. It was written between wars. It reminded me of Updike's Rabbit books, which I hate. Maybe because of the small perspective? Maybe the "everyman" view? Somehow I liked this one. It has a gentle, dark humor, and it is ultimately ...more
Kleiner Mann- was nun? Eine zauberhaft rührende Geschichte um die Pinnebergs, die mit dem Alltag kämpfen. Die Probleme werden von Kapitel zu Kapitel immer größer und auch das Mitgefühl des Lesers wird dabei immer größer. Am Ende klappt man das Buch mit einem Gefühl von Traurigkeit und zugleich Glückseligkeit zu.

Selten sind mir Charaktere eines Buches so ans Herz gewachsen, dass ich am liebsten entweder gleich wieder von vorne anfangen möchte zu lesen oder mir wünsche es gäbe drei, vier, zehn For
Seamus Mcduff
My 3-star rating is an indication, as per the Goodreads prompt, that 'I liked it'; it's not an indication of what I think of its literary worth.
As a writer I think Fallada is very skilled and able; he creates a great amount of pathos, and one is easily able to believe in his characters and empathise with them, and feel for them in their troubles in what seem to be very tough economic times. Pinneberg and Lammchen are quite sympathetic and realistic characters, good without being saccharine; I fo
Het boek leest heel vlot; het is vertaald op zo'n manier dat de hedendaagse lezer de originele tekst en stijl duidelijk beleeft zonder dat er aan vlotheid of leesbaarheid is ingeboet. De thematiek is - helaas- nog altijd voorpaginanieuws: de gevolgen van een economische recessie voor 'de kleine man'. Die kleine man is in feite de 'middenklasse' die vandaag volgens de kranten dreigt te verarmen.

Het hoofdpersonage Pinneberg is een jonge 'employe', d.i. een voorloper van de bediende. Hij hoort dus
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Hans Fallada, born Rudolf Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen in Greifswald, was one of the most famous German writers of the 20th century. His novel, LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? is generally considered his most famous work and is a classic of German literature. Fallada's pseudonym derives from a combination of characters found in the Grimm fairy tales: The protagonist of Lucky Hans and a horse named Falada in The Goo ...more
More about Hans Fallada...
Every Man Dies Alone The Drinker Wolf Among Wolves A Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism Wer einmal aus dem Blechnapf frißt

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“And so it had been going on week after week. Month after month. That was what was so discouraging, that it went on so endlessly. Hadn't he once believed that it was all over? The worst thing was that it went on. And on, and on, with no end in sight.” 0 likes
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