Nowadays, many people say that we live our hardest times. After all, we are at war with an invisible enemy. But it’s still just drama. There were times when some humans were predators, while others, true victims. Times when you couldn’t trust anyone, not even your family. And those times are highlighted throughout this book review.
Because I made a habit from reading historical fiction when I think that my life is hard, I decided to read the novel “Every man dies alone”, by Hans Fallada. And I needed some courage for that. My version has no less than 725 pages. The book is set in the nazi Berlin, one of the darkest times of modern history.
But this is not just a normal Holocaust-themed book.
In fact, jews are barely present. Most of the characters are (more or less) respectable German citizens.
Hans Fallada (which is actually the pseudonym of Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen) based his novel on the real story of Otto and Elisei Hampel (named Otto and Anna Quangel in the book), two apparently normal workers who started committing civil disobediences when finding out that their son died in a war he had never believed in. Their resistance was somehow insignificant: they have written and spread approximately 300 anti-nazi postcards. But in a world where even an inappropriate whisper can end up with a death sentence, those postcards got the Gestapo crazy.
“Every man dies alone” talks about the horrible sadistic actions that humans are capable of, but also about the simplicity and the beauty of the solidarity, of the (as I like to call it) true humanity. While “every man dies alone”, we should all live together and help each other. In the current crisis that we face, this lesson becomes more and more significant. So this is how a book written more than 50 years ago is relevant today.
The reading experience
After I’ve read the book, I rated it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed it, but this story could be assembled more interestingly. I expected a higher impact when it came to the postcards. In 725 pages, I wanted to see more dramatic moments. Without those, the book tends to become a little too boring at some points. However, the ending still surprised me somehow. But I had more expectations from the plot.
The thing that surprised me most
In general, after reading a book I search for some more information about the author and the backstory of his writing. The backstory of this novel actually surprised me more than the novel itself. “Every man dies alone” is the last book written by Hans Fallada, only in 24 days, and a few months before his death.
All in all, I recommend the book. Not as a totally life-changing story, but as a simple lecture, with some extra meanings.
What do you think? Does every man die alone? Is anyone actually alone in this cruel, but beautiful world? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Did this book review get you excited about its plot? The check this other article out to find another beautiful review!