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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Book Notes: Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone

In any other circumstances, Otto Quangel, the protagonist of this novel, would be seen as a mean, stupid old bastard. But in Every Man there’s nobody more decent than he is. He, at least, is trying to resist the Nazis, even though his way of doing it is pathetically useless. 

Quangel is not the only person in the novel who tries to remain decent in Nazi Germany yet makes everything even worse. Judge Fromm, for instance, attempts to hide from the Nazis a Jewish woman but does it in such a way that she prefers suicide to his help. People fail to do the right thing because they are so isolated and suspicious of each other. But when they do manage to come together, everything gets worse. 

No matter how much you have read on Nazism, your reading will be incomplete without this novel. It’s very simply written yet extremely complex because it gives no answers. There are subjects where answers are not needed. They should remain an eternal question because they must never be put to rest. 

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