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The Drinker

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  1,193 Ratings  ·  127 Reviews
This astonishing, autobiographical tour de force was written by Hans Fallada in an encrypted notebook while he was incarcerated in a Nazi insane asylum. Discovered after his death, it tells the tale—often fierce, often poignant, often extremely funny—of a small businessman losing control as he fights valiantly to blot out an increasingly oppressive society.

In a brilliant t
Paperback, 350 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Melville House (first published 1944)
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Jun 01, 2012 knig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2012
If there is a depressive, addictive, mentally unstable and suicidal author out there, I will seek him out, sooner or later. It is my special superhero power. If I particularly love a book, I now dread to look up the author bio. There seems to be a direct correlation between my admiration of a literary work and the inevitable death by unnatural causes of the author.

This of course was no exception. Fallada is perhaps one of the more unhinged of the lot. Deeeply depressive, with several stints in
Sep 28, 2015 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Εν μέρει αυτοβιογραφικό, αμιγώς νατουραλιστικό, ο Fallada πλάθει έναν κόσμο όπου η εξάρτηση κι η αδυναμία παίζουν πρωταγωνιστικό ρόλο. Επηρεασμένος απ' την ίδια του τη ζωή, περιγράφει βήμα-βήμα την παράδοση του κεντρικού χαρακτήρα στο ποτό, το σταδιακό μίσος προς τη σύζυγό του, την άρνηση ότι είναι εξαρτημένος.
Εξαιρετικό έργο, χωρίς διάθεση ούτε να αθωώσει, αλλά ούτε και να καταδικάσει τον πρωταγωνιστή, κύριο Ζόμερ, αφήνοντάς την τελική κρίση στους αναγνώστες.
Νίκος Μ
Nov 27, 2016 Νίκος Μ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Το καλύτερο βιβλίο που διάβασα μέσα στο 2016.Δεν πρέπει να λείπει απο καμία βιβλιοθήκη!
Jul 17, 2017 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
Of course I have not always been a drunkard, the main character, Erwin Sommer, says to begin this tale. Me neither, says I.

This is the tale of a respectable man who takes to drink late in life and then follows a quick spiral downward into insanity. It does not stray far from the outline of the author's own life: drink, marital trouble, more drink, the loss of self-esteem, even more drink, attempted spousal-cide, arrest, incarceration, insane asylum.

As with his other novels, Fallada wrote this i
Jul 31, 2011 Nathanimal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: das-buch
What a wonderful, devastating book—an axe, Kafka would call it: my frozen sea inside me is all whacked into slush.

Writers might study this book as a lucid example of crucible, that diabolical equation whereby protagonists are simultaneously repelled and compelled by the central crisis of the story. But don't think that the crucible here is simply a device to keep you reading (it will). Fallada's crucible embodies a deep understanding of human nature. Protag Sommer's short memory of the past, his
Oct 20, 2013 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ξεκινώντας την ανάγνωση μαγεύτηκα από την απλή γλώσσα που χρησιμοποιεί ο Fallada για να περιγράψει σκηνές από την καθημερινή ζωή του Έρβιν και της Μάγδας Ζόμερ κατά τη δεκαετία του ’30. Ο απόλυτος ρεαλισμός που αποπνέει το κείμενο σε κάνει να νιώθεις πως διαβάζεις για κάποιο γνωστό σου ή γείτονα. Η οικογενειακή ζωή του ζευγαριού κλονίζεται από μικροπροβλήματα και εντάσεις που ανακύπτουν λόγω επαγγελματικών δυσχερειών. Ο Έρβιν μπαίνει μια μέρα στον πειρασμό και δοκιμάζει να πνίξει τον πόνο του στ ...more
Kasa Cotugno
As with all of the books of Hans Fallada, this is an insider's look at Germany unlike any other. What sets this one apart is its personalization, the fact that the outside world does not appear at all. Written in an encrypted notebook in a Nazi insane asylum, this is the most intimate of Fallada's books, one which plunges through his psyche rather than the zeitgeist of Germany in the years following WWI (as in What Now Little Man) or his masterpiece, life under the Gestapo in wartime Berlin as t ...more
c.vance c.vance
May 13, 2008 c.vance c.vance rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: drunks
They will steal this book from your shelf.

It is a hard-to-find book; even special ordered and second-hand. But that is not why They will steal it and that is not why you will be pissed at seeing it gone. Pissed because you are a drunkard and it is the most beautiful book written by/about a drunkard; stolen because They hope it will explain your condition.

Your condition summed up by the book’s title: The Drinker. The book’s back cover explaining the almost-autobiographical story was written while
May 10, 2010 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary book, and extraordinarily painful to read. There are those who make the case that this book is a metaphor for Hitler's Germany. I don't know about that. My experience with Al-Anon tells me that the pitifully self-destructive behavior that poor Hans Fallada documents here is pure, unadulterated alcoholism.

This is thinly veiled autobiography, and it's absolutely wrenching to read of his self-delusions, his descent into madness, his heartbreaking willingness to abandon the advice
Jul 22, 2016 Lotti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gelezen-in-2016
Een droevig boek. Ik moest er in het begin over na denken of ik al die ellende wel wilde lezen. Maar op gegeven moment werd ik gegrepen door het verhaal en kon niet meer stoppen. De auteur put uit eigen ervaringen met gevangenis en alcoholisme. Dit geeft een duidelijk beeld over hoe een alcoholist zich voelt en gedraagt. Mooi geschreven en aangrijpend.
Oct 19, 2014 Jorge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

El autor de esta obra de nombre Rudolf Ditzen (Hans Fallada, nombre de pluma) me parece que es uno de esos autores malditos, perseguidos por la desgracia, la tragedia y el sufrimiento extremo: enfermedades, accidentes, drogas, alcohol, cárcel, manicomio, intentos de suicidio, asesinato, dos guerras mundiales, divorcios y finalmente el suicidio. ¿Haría falta algo más en el catálogo de las desgracias humanas?

A pesar de todas estas calamidades que acompañaron su vida, Hans Fallada nunca perdió la
Vassiliki Dass
Jun 21, 2016 Vassiliki Dass rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Έχω αναθεωρήσει τελείως την προηγούμενη κριτική μου την προ 3 χρόνων. Πρόκειται περί ενός αριστουργήματος αν και ο τίτλος είναι ελαφρώς παραπλανητικός μια και το γεγονός ότι ο ήρωας πίνει στο πρώτο μέρος του βιβλίου χρησιμοποιείται μάλλον ως πρόσχημα ώστε να μιλήσει ο συγγραφέας για τις συνθήκες κράτησης στις φυλακές και στο άσυλο κατά την περίοδο της ναζιστικής Γερμανίας. Επίσης οι περιγραφές των περιπετειών του Ζόμερ όταν προσπαθούσε να γίνει αλκοολικός διαχέονται από ένα υποδόριο χιούμορ, γεμ ...more
Feb 12, 2017 Φιλιπ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Πολύ καιρό είχα να διαβάσω ένα βιβλίο το οποίο να μην μπορώ να τ'αφήσω από τα χέρια μου.Αριστούργημα!!
Fernando Hernández
Apr 09, 2017 Fernando Hernández rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Rudolf Ditzen, más conocido por su seudónimo de Hans Fallada (Greifswald, Alemania 1893 - † Berlín, Alemania 1947), escribió El Bebedor desde el Sanatorio Psiquiátrico donde estuvo internado en 1944.

Adscrito al movimiento artístico de La Nueva Objetividad, que promulgaba un nuevo Realismo apartándose del Expresionismo imperante. Este realismo impregna buena parte de las páginas de la novela, ya que nos describe detalladamente los acontecimientos cotidianos que le van aconteciendo al protagonista
Apr 06, 2017 Sophia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sophia by: Nectar Terzian
B.R.A.CE. 2017 ένα βιβλίο που γράφτηκε αρχικά σε διαφορετική γλώσσα από τα αγγλικά

Όταν το ξεκίνησα, με ξένισε. Και συνεχίζοντας... ΜΠΑΜ είδα μπροστά μου αυτό τον "κομπλεξικό" άνθρωπο σε έναν γάμο όπου ένιωθε κατώτερος και μην μπορώντας να μιλήσει με τη σύζυγο του για να βρεθεί μια λύση για την σωτηρία της σχέσης του, ακολουθεί μια πορεία τόσο μα τόσο λάθος. Αφήνει τις σκέψεις του και τις παρορμήσεις του να τον ελέγχουν.
Το βιβλίο έχει συγκλονιστικές περιγραφές συνθηκών και ανθρώπων. Το επίμε
G.d. Brennan
Aug 11, 2012 G.d. Brennan rated it it was amazing
Riveting and devastating, "The Drinker" chronicles one man's rapid descent from the heights--or at least the comfortable ledges--of middle-class respectability, down to the depths of alcoholic degradation.

To most normal people, the story will perhaps seem baffling and incomprehensible, even in spite of Fallada's excellent, spare prose; most rational minds will have a hard time comprehending how one man can sink so low, so fast. But alcoholism, alas, is not a rational disease, and anyone who has
Σπύρος Γλύκας
Ο Έρβιν Ζόμερ γίνεται αλκοολικός εξ αιτίας μιας ανταγωνιστικής και καταπιεστικής σχέσης με τη γυναίκα του και ενός στραβοπατήματος στην πετυχημένη ως τότε πορεία της εταιρίας του. Γραμμένο το 1944, ‘ο Πότης’ είναι ένα σχεδόν αυτοβιογραφικό βιβλίο όπου απ’ τις πρώτες κιόλας σελίδες σε κάνει να αναρωτιέσαι πως ο Χανς Φάλλαντα θα ξετυλίξει την ιστορία του χρησιμοποιώντας ένα τόσο άμεσο σχεδόν θεατρικό λόγο συνοδευόμενο από λιτές αλλά συνάμα δυνατές περιγραφές. Αυτή η οικονομία της γραφής που φλερτά ...more
== A devastating testimony of insecurity and afflictive addiction ==

Fallada wrote this fictionalized autobiography while he was incarcerated in a Nazi insane asylum in 1944. It was not published until after his death in 1947 of a morphine overdose. This is an intense account of a successful, happily married businessman’s downward spiral into alcohol addiction, drunken altercations, infidelity, adultery, delusional episodes, leading to his arrest and eventual confinement to merciless penal instit
May 22, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
It isn't just booze he drinks in this man's self-destruction.

What a horrifyingly strong story. Whether about the love of alcohol's good feeling or the times he and we live in!
Some readers will understand the place he lived in that made this powerful, unforgettable story & others of us will KNOW the life...

About a third into the book I jumped to the back to read about the author and decided this guy is toxic and I don't need anymore of his negativity saturating my brain. I had just finished
Aniko Carmean
Dec 31, 2012 Aniko Carmean rated it really liked it
The Drinker, by Hans Fallada, is the story of suicide. Don't be fooled by the fact that no one dies: this is a story of death. Death of a marriage, death of self-respect, death of personal freedom. Erwin Sommer gives a first-person account of his descent as seen from the enforced sobriety of his incarceration at the asylum. Sommer's voice is as dry as he is, and flights of verbal fancy occur only in remembered drunken conversations. There is nothing beautiful or gilded in either phrasing or deta ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
The Drinker is one of Hans Fallada's posthumous novels and it's hilarious. Erwin Sommer, protagonist and narrator, one day drinks a bottle of wine and instantly falls for it. He starts drinking more and more, and also stronger types of booze. His is a very tragic story: he loses everything that was dear to him before the events in the novel, up to his dignity. Fallada has put - probably - his own experiences with alcohol (indeed, rumour has it The Drinker is to some degree autobiographical) rele ...more
Stephen Curran
Apr 12, 2014 Stephen Curran rated it really liked it
A respectable wholesale grocer gets into a fight with a swindler on the floor of a public toilet and is robbed of a cowhide briefcase and four thousand marks. But when he leaves he leaves happily, because the brandy bottle in his pocket remains intact.

The Drinker is a partly autobiographical novel, and a desperately self-critical one ("I know that every single second of my life I have been a coward, I am a coward, I shall go on being a coward.") Reading the first half, in which most of the drink
Feb 28, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hans Fallada (1893–1947) is one of those tragic literary figures whose life story seems to resonate through every page of his novels. This was true of the semi-autobiographical story of Little Man, What Now (see my review) and - in the sense of being one man alone against an all-powerful state which is crushing his spirit – it’s also true of Alone in Berlin. (See my review). But it is The Drinker, the third novel I’ve read by Fallada this year, which really seems to tell his own personal story … ...more
Sep 01, 2012 Russio rated it really liked it
Painfully honest, not unlike Notes from Underground, this tale of a man gripped by the demon drink and compelled to follow it down as far as it will take him has been compared to the travails of the German collective soul in the second world war years during which it was written. With a large glug of autobiography, the writing about drinking is stark and terrible - as in, it captures the awful beguiling nature of drink and the debilitating decisions it can lead one to if not addressed. For this, ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Ieva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patiesībā man ir grūti noformulēt attieksmi pret šo grāmatu. Grūti, jo galvenais varonis, no kura skatu punkta viss attēlots, man tiešām krita uz nerviem. Bet no otras puses tā taču arī loģiski būtu jābūt – šādam cilvēkam IR jākrīt uz nerviem.
Zommers ir tipisks vīrietis-lupata, kura dzeršanā ir vainīgi visi citi, tikai viņš pats nē. Grāmatas vidū kāds Zommeru pirms tam pazinis policists saka, ka nav domājis, ka viņš esot tik stulbs – jo tur pie ainas nevar būt dzeršana vien, tur esot pie vainas
Oct 23, 2013 Pierke rated it it was amazing
Bizar boek. Las het in het Nederlands maar zou graag de Duitse variant eens lezen. De zinsopbouwen zijn prachtig. Sleuren je mee van zin naar zin. Van de ene ellende in de andere.
Als nietdrinker werd ik bang voor de drank, voor de vrouwen en voor het systeem.
De treurnis die overgaat in gelatenheid maakt het boek droevig, en ik hoop oprecht dat ik nooit iemand deze lijdensweg hoef te zien doorlopen
Jul 12, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
Whoa...very different from Alone in Berlin (which he wrote in 24 days and this one in 14!).
Peter Timmermans
Jun 05, 2017 Peter Timmermans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One flew over the cuckoo's nest under the volcano.
Jan 27, 2014 William rated it really liked it
How unreliable is the unreliable narrator? In the case of Hans Fallada’s “The Drinker,” we are able to chart the moment Erwin Sommer’s descent into alcoholism starts, and mark each digression down into it by his excuses, his explanations, his evasions. As Sommer says early on, “Man gets used to anything, and I am afraid that perhaps he gets used quickest of all to living in a state of degradation.”

Hans Fallada was no stranger to alcoholism or degradation. Last year, his final novel "Every Man Di
Dec 30, 2012 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In einem Gef�¤ngnis geschehen schlimme Dinge, oft, man macht nicht viel Aufhebens davon. Den Lobedanz haben sie in die Arrestzelle gesteckt und ihm spatter zu allem anderen eine Anklage wegen schwerer K�¶rperverletzung angeh�¤ngt, und mich haben sie in meiner Zelle auf den Strohsack gelegt, haben mir das Blut ein bi��chen abgewaschen und haben gewartet, bis der herbeitelefonierte Gef�¤ngnisarzt kam. Das erste, was ich h�¶rte, als ich wieder zum Bewu��tsein kam, war die schimpfende ...more
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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
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“Που μου θύμισε τα παλιά, με αποτρέλανε. Καμιά συγκίνηση- νιώθω μόνο την άβυσσο που μας χωρίζει από εκείνο το καταποντισμένο Κάποτε, τότε που ήμασταν ίσοι, ενώ τώρα αυτή τα έχει όλα κι εγώ είμαι υποψήφιος του Τίποτα.” 0 likes
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