Moving On

Self has just begun the next book on her reading list:  Hans Fallada’s novel, Every Man Dies Alone.

She’s quite pleased with her progress. Though it took her 9 days to get through Donna Leon’s Death and Judgment, she did finish it. Which can’t be said of any book she’s tackled since — oh, late March.

(After this, for those readers who’d like to follow along:  a William Maxwell novella, So Long, See You Tomorrow; another Donna Leon mystery, About Face; and a mystery by a Swedish writer self has never read before: Hakan Nesser. His book is Woman with a Birthmark)

Self has high hopes for finishing Every Man Dies Alone, for she’s never been disappointed by any of the German writers she’s read.  For instance, she loves Bernhard Schlink. It’s been a while since she’s read Hannah Arendt, but she remembers liking what she read. And Kafka, she’s always adored Kafka (Self isn’t completely sure whether he’s German or Czech)

Hans Fallada was a Nazi resister who remained in Germany; he nursed himself through World War II by becoming an alcoholic, and ended up having a nervous breakdown (Self would, too. If she were a Nazi resister who chose to remain in Germany for the duration of the war, that is). Whether he was extremely brave, or extremely bull-headed, or extremely crazy, or maybe all three, the point is: he continued to write. His output never flagged. His Every Man Dies Alone begins with a female protagonist, Eva Kluge, who works as a postal carrier. On this particular round, she has to deliver Nazi Party circulars:

. . .  she has to remember to call out “Heil, Hitler!” at the Persickes’ and watch her lip. Which she needs to do anyway, there’s not many people to whom Eva Kluge can say what she thinks. Not that she’s a political animal, she’s just an ordinary woman, but as a woman she’s of the view that you don’t bring children into the world to have them shot.

The translation is by Michael Hofmann.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


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