Monday, April 11, 2011

Quiet Bravery

Every Man Dies Alone, Hans Fallada
This extraordinary novel was written in only 24 days by the author who survived Nazi Germany. It is loosely based on the story of Otto and Elise Kempel, a couple in Berlin who quietly dropped anti-Nazi postcards throughout the city at risk of their lives. In the novel, they become Otto and Anna Quangel. When their son is killed in the war, Otto and Anna realize they no longer believe in Hitler and feel they must act against him. Each postcard they drop could bring a death sentence. In my opinion, the book's strength lies not just in its portrayal of Otto and Anna, but in its ability to examine the psyche of many people, from the Jewish widow living upstairs to the SS officer investigating the postcards. As the novel progresses you are forced to see the many compromises and wrenching decisions people made during the dangerous times. The novel amazingly manages to combine a psychological examination with an action filled plot. I found the afterword about the author to be as interesting as the book itself; don't stop reading at the last page!

Note: This book is one that counts toward my efforts in the Chunkster Challenge. If you're interested in a long read, check out some of the other reviews!

1 comment:

Mom said...

If you own it, may I borrow it? It sounds wonderful.