Thursday, 2 June 2011

Alone in Berlin

I took my time with Hans Fallada's Alone in Berlin.  I kept seeing it on the quick choice table in Waterstones and so decided to reserve it at the library.  Unfortunately I had quite a few other books to get through and so I've been reading snippets of AOB for about two months and last night I finally finished it.

The book has a large number of central characters, and it wasn't entirely what I expected.  The blurb describes the book as a thriller following a man who defies Nazi Berlin by dropping anti-war postcards throughout the city.   However, it's about all different kinds of people who just happened to be living in the same building or knew the people who lived there and showcases the different effects that the war, and this one act of defiance which snowballed out of control, had on them. 

In my case, reading it slowly enhanced the overall mood that I gathered from the pages.  At first I was disappointed that it wasn't just a 'straight' story but Fallada has something in common with Steven Moffat in that he can take all the pieces of a jigsaw that you think would never go together and by the end turns it into something that is perfect.  There's moments of horrible violence, and an overall sense that things aren't fair, but life isn't fair.

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