Andrea's Reviews > Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
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's review
Jun 01, 2011

it was amazing
Read in May, 2011

I discovered Hans Fallada last month by accident when I was shelving books in a library. Every Man Dies Alone was horrifying to read, with its vivid description of the lives of some people living in a Nazi Germany apartment building, but it is one of the most valuable books I've ever read. It described "ordinary" life during a historical period in ways that only a novel can do. The novel conveyed the environment in which people either reported on other people or feared being reported on. The effort to move to the country and get away. The degree to which the government needed to control the very thoughts and feelings of its citizens -- not just their behaviors. Grief over a son who died in a war is not permitted, because these feelings must be superseded by loyalty to the State. I was reminded of my junior semester abroad in the Soviet Union, when I saw a big banner hanging in a park: "The Soviet people have a right to their leisure." As if even this moment of relaxation must be forfeited to the ideology of the State. The book is so long that its world becomes very compelling.

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