Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hans Fallada

I've started reading Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, a new publication in English of a book originally written shortly after the war. It was reviewed very positively in the NYTBR a few weeks ago.

I have a connection of sorts to Fallada because one of his other books, Ein Mann Will Nach Oben (loosely, A Man Strives to Get Ahead) was filmed as a miniseries when I was living in Hamburg 1978-80. I watched it religiously -- this was the time before VCRs, Tivo or DVDs, so if you wanted to see something you had to be parked in front of the TV when it was on. It was a very affecting story about a young man who arrived in Berlin at the turn of the century -- the Gruenderzeit in Germany -- and worked his way up the ladder of success, leaving behind the small group of friends he met when he first came to the city.

Every Man is set during World War II and deals with resistance to the Nazi regime. I've only just started, but John Marks, a discriminating reader whose tips are very reliable, loved the book. Already some early scenes have been surprisingly moving.

I've pretty much abandoned Redbreast by Jo Nesbo. It's not a compelling read in any sense, neither from style or from plot. Too much jumping around between past and present.

Also just starting The Omnivore's Dilemma, part of my new interest in food writing (see my food blog, You Are What You Eat).

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