Monday, 26 November 2012

Hans Fallada

Hans Fallad's Alone in Berlin was only translated into English a couple of years ago, as noted in this Guardian article.

I've just read it, and can confirm that its much-delayed success is entirely well deserved. 

The edition I bought has the author's biography at the end.  I was fascinated to discover the details of Fallada's troubled life, including his drug addiction, long-term imprisonment and mental health issues. As noted on

"It has been said that writers draw their creativity from their own pain and experiences. In the case of Hans Fallada, this may well be true. After being deeply affected by the changes in his life, pain was still to come. During 1910, when Hans Fallada contracted typhoid, he somehow decided that this life was not for him. So, in boarding school, he was able to find a friend whose thoughts were along the same lines as Hans Fallada. In an attempt to disguise their suicides, both boys decided to on a duel. Unfortunately, like most duels, only one person falls down. This person was in the person of Hanns Dietrich, Hans Fallada’s friend and boarding schoolmate.

Hans Fallada went through a lot of tragedies and heartaches. After shooting his friend, he decided to take the gun into his own hands and extinguish his life. However, this plan did not go according to his plans. After surviving the shot he himself instigated, Hans Fallada was sent to trial. Yet again, he was able to avoid a bleak future. Unfortunately, the story does not end here. Because after Hans Fallada was declared innocent of all charges due to insanity, the mental institution he was sent to was just the beginning of a long string of failures, addiction, theft, political fears and fascism."

I've never paid much attention to author biographies but I'm tempted to read Jenny Williams's book, More Lives Than One.   
Sometimes writers draw their creativity through the lives of other writers.


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