Michael's Reviews > Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
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May 14, 12

Read in May, 2012

I came in contact with this book through fortuitous chance. Within one day I had seen this author's name (although admittedly I incorrectly remembered it) after stalking a graduate student friend's CV and my roommate picked up a copy of this title upon a visit to Melville House.

And what great fortune this encounter turned out to be! Written in a "feverish 24 days", I aspired to read this book in just as short period of time. I found Fallada's intricate construction of Nazi Berlin to be enthralling and quick paced, enabling the reader to, without great exertion, turn 50+ pages in a sitting; or ingest a handful of short chapters in transit.

Fallada's "Every Man Dies Alone" explores important leitmotifs such as paranoia, state surveillance, miscarried justice, torture, compulsory party membership, and resistance critical to populating a deep and thorough depiction of wartime Nazi Berlin. Fallada also displays a deep understanding of humanity as these aforementioned themes are engaged through a multitude of narrators and a series of couples (all in and out of love in varying degrees, all tested under Nazism) which hinges on their concern for (or apathy towards) their sons, daughters, and the future of the world that awaits the unborn.

"Every Man Dies Alone" is above all else, deeply moving; there is a love story at the center of the heartbreaking and horrendous world which Fallada himself knew intimately.
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