I think this is probably Fallada's greatest book.
The psychological insights that this author possesses are remarkable.
His portrayal and fascination with seedy characters and the low moral standards of the criminal classes is astounding.
Good writing like this is timeless, this book could have been written today,as much as 1944, when it was written.
The book shows how quickly, in this case, alcoholism takes hold of, shapes and distorts one's personality, from a respectable businessman to the lowest gutter of society.
Fallada was no stranger to Mental Hospitals himself, having had numerous stays in different establishments and he wrote this book in two weeks, whilst sojourned in one such establishment.
There are few Authors in the history of books, that can write so eloquently about the foibles and intricacies of deviant personality.
I won't spoil the ending here, but there is one hell of a twist in this tale at the end.
"Alone in Berlin" is also another cracking book by Fallada, but I think that this book, even surpasses it in it's sheer quality and brilliance.