May 1, 2009
Fresh Air celebrates Hans Fallada
by Dennis Johnson
Melville House‘s project to resurrect the work of forgotten German writer Hans Fallada continues to generate a strong critical response: In an in-depth commentary for NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross program, John Powers filed a “Books We Like” report yesterday on Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone, calling it “a riveting page turner and a memorable portrait of wartime Berlin” that is “also a challenge. It compels you to wonder how you would behave if you were in the same dreadful situation.” Concurrently yesterday, bookseller Monica Carter, of Skylight Books in Los Angeles, filed a review for the Three Percent blog calling Every Man “courageous and elegant.” And also yesterday, in an LA Weekly review, Nathan Ihara lauded all three books released in the project so far (Little Man, What Now?, The Drinker, and Every Man), and especially likes Fallada’s ongoing “twin motifs– the foolâ€™s cheer in the face of hardship, and the lonely voice singing against injustice.” As for Every Man, he calls it a “masterpiece” that “deserves celebration for its historical insight, its literary beauty and its rare sense of humanity.”
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.