Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Little Man, What Now?” as Want to Read:
Little Man, What Now?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Little Man, What Now?

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  2,045 Ratings  ·  175 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Little Man, What Now?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Little Man, What Now?

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Το Άσχημο
May 29, 2016 Το Άσχημο rated it it was amazing
Δεν υπάρχει έλεος. O Φάλλαντα ανήκει στο λεγόμενο ρεύμα της Νέας Αντικειμενικότητας (Neue Sachlichkeit), ένας είδος ρεαλισμού που υπερβαίνει σε σκληρότητα τον νατουραλισμό του 19ου αιώνα και με βρήκε απροετοίμαστη. Δεν είναι ωμός, δεν είναι ψυχρός, αντιθέτως είναι σοκαριστικά απλός ο τρόπος που εξιστορεί τα γεγονότα. Με τρόπο απλό, λιτό κατανοητό. Και καταλήγει να είναι μια μαχαιριά στην καρδιά. Όλη αυτή η αλήθεια. Τελικά η πραγματικότητα μπορεί να γίνει το αριστοτεχνικότερο μυθιστόρημα τρόμου. ...more
Dec 07, 2014 Nicole~ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fallada
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
Lubinka Dimitrova
"Kleiner Mann, was nun?" is exactly what the title says - a small man, living his small life, with his small family, striving to survive day by day. This "smallness", while at times quite numbing with its ordinarity, lingers with the reader for a long time for a long time after finishing the book. I kept on thinking about my own small life and struggles which often make me forget that there must be more "life" in our lives...

The story itself is fairly basic. I liked how Fallada wrapped the lesso
Aug 24, 2014 Bjorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany
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
Mali čoveče... je tako jedno prijatno-neprijatno iznenađenje: em je znatno bolja i modernija nego što sam očekivala em je nelagodno savremena - nema u osnovnoj priči o novopečenim mladencima koji se grče da prežive od jedne krajnje nesigurne plate i još čekaju bebu gotovo ničeg što ne bi bilo poznato današnjim podstanarskim parovima i mladim roditeljima. Čak ni užasi papirologije za dečji dodatak. Suvi realizam bez neke umetničke stilizacije.
Ono što je zbilja zastrašujuće za današnjeg čitaoca i,
Aug 22, 2010 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2015 Petra rated it really liked it
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
Apr 26, 2013 Alan rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 06, 2013 Elisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: german
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
Nov 16, 2016 Myriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
‘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
Amy Neftzger
Mar 19, 2015 Amy Neftzger rated it really liked it
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
Feb 02, 2012 Sheri rated it really liked it
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
Jul 05, 2015 Antje rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose, read-2015
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
Mar 22, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, classics
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.
Aug 04, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Gute 4 Sterne
Mar 03, 2013 Elisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer W
Mar 17, 2015 Jennifer W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: byt-1900-1940
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
Feb 27, 2015 Irene rated it really liked it
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
Sep 28, 2016 Miranda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I know I will get lots of likes on this review if I make some vapid topical political connection. Something something analogue to America something something Trump voters. So imagine I did that. But even though Kleiner Mann is even lesser known than Jeder stirbt für sich allein, I liked it a lot; there's just something it that spoke to me personally right now. Fallada has always spoken to me, maybe because the Grimm fairy tale from which he took his name (one of the Grimmest in the collection re ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s odd how ideas from disparate kinds of reading can coalesce in the mind: I have been reading The Censor’s Library, Uncovering the Lost History of Australia’s Banned Books by Nicole Moore, and amongst other propositions that she puts is that the enthusiasm with which books were banned in Australia led to the modernism movement passing us by. However it wasn’t just works by authors such as James Joyce which had too many naughty bits for the good people of Australia to read, it was all kinds of ...more
==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
Dec 13, 2011 tinne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Robert Bayley
Apr 19, 2016 Robert Bayley rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite novels. It's almost naively written but the humanity in it is profound. Taking place during the German depression and the rise of Nazism, it follows the story of Sonny and Lammchen as they discover their love during hard times when Sonny, desperate to cling on to any job, fails and the couple move from accommodation to accommodation in a bid just to exist. The popular film star scene is tremendous as Sonny's hopes rise only to be flayed at the moment of being fulfilled. It's ...more
Kathryn Berla
Mar 27, 2016 Kathryn Berla rated it it was amazing
This is my second book by Hans Fallada. The first (Every Man Dies Alone) stayed with me for months afterward, and I suspect this one will as well. Bullied as a child, addicted to painkillers taken for injuries suffered in an accident, Fallada seemed ill-equipped to survive in a brutal world and he landed smack in the middle of the most brutal--the Third Reich. He tended to write his books at breakneck speed as though his life depended on it, and apparently it did. But there are very few authors ...more
May 29, 2010 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Amanda Miller
Mar 30, 2015 Amanda Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-must-reads
I can't say that I liked this as well as Every Man Dies Alone, but it was still a fast and enjoyable read. It gives a glimpse of life in Germany between the World Wars, and it does it well. I only feel that Pinneberg was not a wholely likeable character; acting a bit too smug considering the condition they are in, but not terribly so to the point of hating him. A recommended read.
Gisela Hafezparast
Jul 30, 2014 Gisela Hafezparast rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Erica Moberg
Jul 01, 2016 Erica Moberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En liten pärla om små människor.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Chicks On Lit: Little Man, What Now? - Classic Read for March 92 46 Oct 31, 2015 06:27AM  
  • Das siebte Kreuz
  • The Oppermanns
  • What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933
  • Fabian. Die Geschichte eines Moralisten
  • The German Lesson
  • Der Untertan
  • Patterns of Childhood
  • Billiards at Half-Past Nine
  • The Artificial Silk Girl
  • Schloß Gripsholm
  • Peeling the Onion
  • Irretrievable
  • Sansibar oder der letzte Grund
  • Mephisto
  • Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns
  • The Devil's Elixirs
  • Simplicissimus
  • Draußen vor der Tür
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...

Share This Book

“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.” 1 likes
“Wie kann man lachen, richtig lachen, in solcher Welt mit sanierten Wirtschaftsführern, die tausend Fehler gemacht haben, und kleinen, entwürdigten, zertretenen Leuten, die stets ihr Bestes taten?” 0 likes
More quotes…