Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

Hannah Arendt coined the term “the banality of evil” in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem about the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of Nazi Germany’s final solution. Arendt found Eichmann a very small man, engaged in what was basically accounting. He did not have a grand vision for the world, he was just doing a job, an everyday civil servant engaged in carrying out … Continue reading Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

After Midnight by Irmgard Keun

The author of After Midnight, Irmgard Keun, once sued the Gestapo. I’m not sure that we should admire her for this, but it certainly took guts. We can admire her for her novel After Midnight, a satirical look at life in Nazi era Germany, translated from the German by Anthea Bell. After Midnight is a very funny book, maybe I should say witty. ┬áIt didn’t … Continue reading After Midnight by Irmgard Keun

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann is a story of obsession and isolation. Aschenbach, a writer of rarefied fictions, takes a holiday to Venice where he sees a beautiful youth of 15 years. He is immediately taken in by the boy’s beauty and very quickly becomes obsessed with him. Aschenbach finds he is staying at the same hotel as the boy, so he studies the … Continue reading Death in Venice by Thomas Mann