Ronald Roseborough's Reviews > Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
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's review
Jul 07, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, mystery-adventure-thriller
Read from July 07 to 21, 2010

This is an extraordinary book. I suppose you would classify it as historical fiction. The story is loosely based on a true occurrence in Nazi controlled Berlin during World War II. A middle aged couple, the Quangels, learn of the death of their only son in the war. The usually staid husband, Otto, is so full of grief and anger at the government for taking his son from him, that he hatches a plan, with the at first, reluctant help of his wife, Anna, to speak out against the Nazis. They decide to express their grievances on postcards and drop them in high traffic areas of the city so no one will be able to connect them with the subversive notes. This may sound like a very innocuous way to protest their feelings, but in Berlin at this time to partake in such seditious writing was punishable by death. The story flows nicely, being neither preachy nor pedantic. The lives of the Quangels hang for over a year on the words they laboriously print on their postcards. Each knows the other is in constant danger as long as a card is in their possession. Yet each is willing to give their life as the mere act of defiance has brought them a closeness and bond that has not been present before. Hans Fallada, the author, nicely balances the lives of this couple with many other elements of German society at the time. Petty crooks an criminals are contrasted with the Nazi faithful. Seemingly innocent people, who are just trying to live their lives in peace are contrasted with the vultures of society who prey on the weak and unprepared. A very moving story which can be enjoyed on many levels.
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