Customer Reviews


35 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Brilliant Book
Like most people I first came across Hans Fallada with Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics). Finding that absolutely fantastic I then went on to read the other books that are currently in translation. Being offered this then was a definite treat. This is now the fifth Fallada book I have read and they have all been brilliant. As with his other books this is easily...
Published on 23 Jan 2012 by M. Dowden

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why I did not like this book
I could not get started with this book, so I had to put it down. see the kindle review. Thank goodness I bought a second hand edition which was half price

This review is a great shame as I usually enjoy reading Fallada's books.
Published 19 months ago by ARD


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 15 Mar 2012
By 
marcoscu "marcoscu" (Chorley,UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wanted to read this because Alone in Berlin was tremendously good. A Small Circus has its moments, but is nothing like as brilliant. There are so many characters, I tended to lose track at times and had to keep referring back to see who was saying what (there is an awful lot of dialogue), and the book is far too long; so much of it - the trial, especially - was horribly wordy and would have benefitted enormously from a really good edit.

Which is not to say it's completely unreadable. It has its moments; there is humour - very black humour, admittedly - when the clouds part on the overwhelmingly depressing tone and these dislikeable characters briefly shine.

I think a lot of the problems I had were that I'm no expert on the place and time, and I think, to some extent, you need to be to get the most from this novel. I'm sure - when the book was written, when the events of these times were so much fresher on the public mind - it would have all made a great deal more sense. The forward is invaluable in placing this book in its setting and time; without the forward, I would have been lost.

The style is decidedly quirky; consciously modern - an interpretation, I suspect, rather than a translation. It might well have been that the very dialogue-heavy narrative appeared archaic and stodgy in direct translation, and the slangy style was deliberately done to inject some pep and vigour into it. If so, I'm afraid it doesn't really work; rather than enlivening the 80 year old language, it just becomes incongruous and at times uncomfortable, like a pensioner in a leather miniskirt and fishnets.

Despite all of the above, this is not a horrible book; if you have a genuine love for, and knowledge of this period of time, you may well love it. Myself, I found it incredibly depressing; the characters, at best, dislikeable, at worst, pure evil, and the storytelling over-written and slow.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over complicated and too many characters, 4 Mar 2012
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is based in a very interesting period for germany. The Weimar republic is reaching its end and is being jostled by the nazi party and the communist party. It could be a very good book but I found that there were too many characters being introduced at the same time which made it very difficult to follow.
I have read Alone in Berlin and was looking forward or another fascinating read. Unfortunately this one didn't do it. The book is nearly 600 pages and it felt like it. Structurely, I liked it, well broken down into chapters and sub chapter which often speeds up a read and makes difficult books more appetising but, in this case, it doesn't work.
If you ar going to tackle this, do it slowly and take it in properly.......
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rich portrayal of Germany in 1929, but rather confusing, 8 Feb 2012
By 
Alan Pavelin (Chislehurst, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hans Fallada (real name Rudolf Ditzen) worked in the late 1920s for a local newspaper in a small North German town. This novel is based on his experiences there, and provides a rich picture of what life in such a town was like as the Nazis rose to power. He details the corruption, the generally rather unpleasant characters, and the various political factions which existed at that time and place. There are the small farmers, the townspeople, the newspaper men, and the warring local political groups: Social Democrats, National Socialists (Nazis), Communists, Centrists, and smaller ones. The first part of the book portrays a mass demonstration which Fallada was present at (transferred to the fictional town of the novel) and which ends in chaos and violence. After a long middle section there is a detailed trial of four ringleaders. The "small circus" is a show which, after failing to advertise in the newspaper, is given a damning review by somebody who did not see it.
My decision to mark it down to 3 stars is because, at nearly 600 pages, and with a large number of characters, I just found this dialogue-heavy book a little too confusing. I do not wish to deny that it is very good, but for me all the complications make it somewhat offputting, though I certainly completed it; others will have a different view. The translation, by Michael Hofmann, is a lively modern one, with a few expressions which I am sure were not current at the time. At the back are details of the 1928 and 1930 German election results; the rise of the Nazis, from 2.6% to 18.3% of the vote, is chilling.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of the 20th Century, 23 April 2012
By 
Graeme Stewart "echosnare" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like many, I discovered Hans Fallada through "Alone In Berlin", which is, for me, a masterpiece of storytelling, and something I will always have in my top ten reads. This is a weightier tome, set earlier in the Nazi era, but no less gripping, for Falladas' labyrinthine plotting, and detailed characterisations. Read with the knowledge of hindsight, we can see the pressures on him as an author to write "acceptable" literature, in Nazi eyes, something he did not always manage to do. He invariably managed to hide an anti Nazi vein in his work, and here is no exception. Without talking too much here, or at all, really, about plot, I will say only that this stands up there with "Alone..." as a classic of 20th Century literature, and not just of German origin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing .., 7 Feb 2012
By 
A. J. Sudworth "tonysudworth" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved the book 'Alone in Berlin' and wanted to try some more of his books - this seems ideal.
Sadly it was not and I gave up after 200 pages because it really did not engage in the same way. In 'Alone..' there was a definite air of menace and you have a main character who you could identify with - but in 'A Small Circus' I really struggled to find one, just one, character who had a decent bone in their body, who did anything without an eye to 'what's in it for me ' or how they can do the next person down. You can have a lot of them in a story but not everyone
If anything this is set in an appalling time in German's history but (and this may be the translation style) but this comes across as the Keystone Cops
So I'm sorry I thin this trivialises a bad time in Germany, and maybe that was what it took to get it published, or the writer is more subtle that I am, but the relentless first person he said, then he said makes it a tough read
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Small Circus
A Small Circus by Hans Fallada (Paperback - 28 Mar 2013)
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews