Alone in Berlin
Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. At the house on 55 Jablonski Strasse, its various occupants try to live under Nazi rule in their different ways: the bullying Hitler loyalists the Persickes, the retired judge Fromm and the unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel. Then the Quangels receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France....more
In the end, the Gestapo…moreWe have a choice, even when it seems that things are hopeless and the world is going in the opposite direction to our values.
In the end, the Gestapo officer who arrests Herr Quangel realizes how badly he has betrayed his own values and can no longer live with himself.
In a more hopeful light at the end of the war, the estranged son of a villainous informant is faced with helping out his old dad from whom he had run away, or, alternatively, turning him away and sticking to his new life. It is a choice between accepting and aiding your own blood family--the familiar, the tribe, the easy and obvious path--or recognizing that tribe as criminal, chaotic, and hurtful, and that it is best to turn away from the familiar and towards something new and hopeful.(less)
But first, some context:
Hans Fallada is the pen name of Rudolf Ditzen. At the age of 18, Ditzen and a friend went out in the countryside and, in the manner of duellists, fired guns at each other over some adolescent sexual rutting. The friend missed, but Ditzen's aim was true. Taking his friend's gun, Ditzen shot himself in the chest, but survived. For the first of many times, Ditzen was committed to a sanatorium for the mentally ill. Released, Ditzen turned to alcohol and narcotics. ...more
Who would have thought that the novel concerning middle-aged couple dropping postcards on stairwells of random buildings would be so thrilling. But make no mistake. They were not ordinary cards. They carried on their surface some home truths and it was reason enough to give your head to executioner. Alone in Berlin or Every man dies alone reads like first-rate thriller though it’s something more. It’s a record, a meticulous one, of awakening and refusal. Awakening of spirit and refusal to be ...more
"Then he picked up the pen and said softly, but clearly, "The first sentence of our first card will read: Mother! The Führer has murdered my son."....At that instant she grasped that this very first sentence was Otto's absolute and irrevocable declaration of war, and also what that meant: war between, on the one side, the two of them, poor, small, insignificant workers who could be extinguished for just a word or two, and on the other, the Führer, the Party, the whole apparatus in all its power ...more
Re-visit 2015 via R4x:Primo Levi's declaration that Alone in Berlin is "the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis" is bold and unequivocal. English readers have had to wait 60 years to explore the 1947 novel in which Otto Quangel, a factory foreman (Ron Cook) and his wife Anna (Margot Leicester) believe themselves morally obliged to take on the full might of the Nazis.
When their son is killed "for Fuhrer and ...more
It took me 250 pages to fully get into this one, and suddenly it took a turn and I was hooked like never before by its vital urgency. The characters were full-fleshed, fully realized, flawed and magnificent at the same time. The novel rushed towards its ...more
When, 6 years ago, I saw Benigni's La Vita é Bella, it had such an impact on me, that during the final 30 minutes, I was feeling nauseous and trying to breathe as if a cannonball had landed on my chest. By the time the ending credits rolled, I remember, I was feeling as if the air had been sucked out of the room, so I ran to the balcony, hands on the railing, gasping for air and trying to find my composure again, while my girlfriend at the time was wondering whether ...more
The hero and heroine,(Fallada speaks of people in their fifties or even late forties as being ...more
It is not a perfect book, as one would expect from a 500+ page novel written in 24 days and apparently never edited. There are extra characters and sub-plots that perhaps were not needed. But this is quibbling. It's a great read ...more
There has been a surge of interest in the German experience of World War II, particularly the experience of those who tried to resist the war mongering. This novel joins works like The Song Before It Is Sung A Novel , Valkyrie The Plot To Kill Hitler , and ...more
Maybe it was because I read it in a day, or maybe because it was based on a true story, I know I will not forget this book for a long time.
Much WW2 literature is written from the view point of the English during the blitz, the French heading up the Resistence or the Nazi's wreaking evil. I think there is only Alone in Berlin and The Book Thief that I have read, which has given an insight into the dire situation that the ordinary Germans lived ...more
This WW2 story concerns non-Semitic Germans during this period. It melts into a pond of existentialism and it bespeaks another aspect of imperfect humanity.
P.S. I went back and reread the Kirkus review. I should have read the review more carefully. It is clearly stated that the characters are "archetypal to a fault". I recommend that carefully read Kirkus's review. Here follows a link to that review:
Every time you see Nazis in a movie or read of Nazis in book, you know that they're gonna get theirs in the end. It's akin to something like culturally accepted wisdom to dismiss them as caricatures. But they aren't caricatures (Godwin's Law notwithstanding) -- they existed (DO exist), and for a while there it looked like they might even run things. The period of their ...more
Fallada introduces us to carpenter Otto Quangel and his stay at home wife Anna in the first chapter, and we stay with these main protagonists for the whole book - but all around them many diverse specimens of humanity help paint what it was like. None of these characters is flat or stereotypical: ...more
The premise is excellent -- a perfectly ordinary, working-class German couple carries on their own private campaign of resistance by dropping postcards with anti-Nazi messages. I knew this was going to be a great story. But even more ...more
I came to this book having read More Lives Than One: A Biography of Hans Fallada by Jenny Williams, which was the perfect introduction into the literary world of Hans Fallada.
Alone In Berlin really brings alive the day-to-day hell of life ...more
Fallada wrote this text in only four weeks while he was treated in the psychiatric ward of the Charité Berlin; around two months later, in February 1947, he died of his addiction to morphine and alcoholism (remarkably, the novel features two doctors who try to numb themselves with morphine because they are harassed by the Nazis). "Jeder stirbt für sich allein" is ...more
I found this novel to be incredibly moving. It did lag in the middle when the attention drifts from the grieved couple to myriad shitbags. I found the development of the ...more
Every Man Dies Alone looks at one couple's small act of resistance to the Nazis during the war. At ...more
The two primary characters, Otto and Anna Quangel, receive a letter informing them that their son, a soldier in the German Wehrmacht, has been killed in the invasion of France. The Quangels later decide to engage in a secret plan to inform Germans about the reality of ...more
I’m aware that I am likely to be censured for this rating, not simply because it lurks amid a plethora of glowing reviews, but because this novel is based on the truth, and what a horrific truth. Perhaps the only vaguely compelling aspect of Alone in Berlin is its foundation in truth. Anything even vaguely biographical ...more
|Goodreads România: Citește cu mine: Fiecare moare singur, de Hans Fallada (2.7* din 3 voturi)||19||65||May 19, 2019 11:36PM|
|Goodreads Italia: GdL Narrativa Dicembre 2018: Ognuno muore solo di Hans Fallada - Commenti e discussione||21||104||Mar 20, 2019 10:14AM|
|Around the Year i...: Alone in Berlin, by Hans Fallada||6||57||Mar 12, 2018 06:43AM|
|Around the Year i...: Alone in Berlin, by Hans Fallada||3||22||Jan 13, 2018 10:59AM|
|Bright Young Things: April 2014 - Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada||67||71||Jul 05, 2017 12:53PM|
|Play Book Tag: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada - 4.5 Stars||4||19||Aug 27, 2016 02:02PM|