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  • Published: 4 March 2010
  • ISBN: 9780141189383
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

Alone In Berlin




'A truly great book ... an utterly gripping thriller' Justin Cartwright, Sunday Telegraph

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. Shocked out of their quiet existence, they begin a silent campaign of defiance, and a deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich. When petty criminals Kluge and Borkhausen also become involved, deception, betrayal and murder ensue, tightening the noose around the Quangels' necks ...

  • Published: 4 March 2010
  • ISBN: 9780141189383
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

About the author

Hans Fallada

Hans Fallada (1893–1947) was the pen name of German author Rudolf Ditzen, whose books were international bestsellers on a par with those of his countrymen Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse. He opted to stay in Germany when the Nazis came to power, and eventually had a nervous breakdown when he was put under pressure to write anti-Semitic books. He was cast into a Nazi insane asylum, where he secretly wrote The Drinker. Immediately after the war he wrote his last two novels, The Nightmare and Alone in Berlin, but he died before either book could be published.

Also by Hans Fallada

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Praise for Alone In Berlin

One of the most extraordinary and compelling novels written about World War II. Ever.

Alan Furst

Terrific ... a fast-moving, important and astutely deadpan thriller.

Irish Times

A classic study of a paranoid society. Fallada's scope is extraordinary. Alone in Berlin is ... as morally powerful as anything I've ever read.

Charlotte Moore, Telegraph

The greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis.

Primo Levi

Fallada assembles a cast of vivid low-life characters, stoolies, thieves and whores

James Buchan, Guardian

Visceral, chilling ... has the suspense of a Le Carré novel

New Yorker

A classic study of a paranoid society. Fallada's scope is extraordinary. Alone in Berlin is ... as morally powerful as anything I've ever read

Charlotte Moore, Telegraph

First published in Germany in 1947 and evoking the horror of life in Germany in the Second World War. A rediscovered masterpiece that makes you want to seek out more works by this great chronicler of events in my own lifetime.

Barry Humphries, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph

The other fictional high point of 2009 was Alone in Berlin ... Hans Fallada's 1947 portrait of an ordinary German couple stung into a life of protest by the death of their soldier son is harrowing and masterly.

David Robson, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph

[This novel] suggests that resistance to evil is rarely straightforward, mostly futile, and generally doomed. Yet to the novel's aching, unanswered question: 'Does it matter?' there is in this strange and compelling story to be found a reply in the affirmative. Primo Levi had it right: This is the great novel of German resistance.

Richard Flanagan

'What Irène Némirovsky's "Suite Française" did for wartime France after six decades in obscurity, Fallada does for wartime Berlin.'

Roger Cohen, New York Times

'[Alone in Berlin] has something of the horror of Conrad, the madness of Dostoyevsky and the chilling menace of Capote's "In Cold Blood"'.

Roger Cohen, New York Times

'Fallada's great novel, beautifully translated by the poet Michael Hofmann, evokes the daily horror of life under the Third Reich, where the venom of Nazism seeped into the very pores of society, poisoning every aspect of existence. It is a story of resistance, sly humour and hope'

Ben Macintyre, The Times

'an extraordinary novel'

Daily Express

A marvellous book, almost a masterpiece. The tension he maintains despite a fogegone conclusion is miraculous. This is the truest, most vivid I-was-there novel of the epoch.

Norman Lebrecht

The stand-out book this year for me was Alone in Berlin (Penguin Classics £9.99) ... It's a page-turning moral thriller, based on fact, of a ­working-class German ­couple and their small-scale attempts to resist Nazi rule in Berlin. Bleak, chilling, utterly compelling and unforgettable.

Pugh, Books of the Year, Daily Mail

Penguin's reissue of Hans Fallada's Alone in Berlin, brilliantly translated by Michael Hofmann, makes available one of the great novels of the past century. An almost unbearably intense challenge to its readers.

George Steiner, Books of the Year, TLS

What makes Alone in Berlin such a cracking read is that it pushes us into the midst of that grim reality and yet allows us to put it down - only at the very end - with a feeling of warm humanity.

Peter Millar, The Times

Hans Fallada wrote Alone in Berlin between September and November 1946, in postwar East Germany. He told his family that he had written "a great novel". He would die a few months later. .... Fallada was correct: he had written a great book, in circumstances and a space of time which make the achievement almost miraculous. But it's the double miracle of translation which gives us Fallada's novel in English as Alone in Berlin. Michael Hoffman is a fine poet, whose acute ear and eloquent understanding of the transition-points between the two languages make the text as powerful as it is down-to-earth.

Helen Dunmore, Guardian