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This review is from: Drinker, The (Paperback)
In this semi-autobiographical novel, Hans Fallada tells the story of a human struggle for survival: a small businessman fighting against a slow suicide through alcoholism.
In his introduction, J. Willett, interprets the story of the fall of the drunkard as a symbol of the fate of the Nazi State, although the book was written before the end of WW II.
However, the novel doesn't transcend the personal problems of the main character.
The story isn't embedded in a global social context. One doesn't read one evaluation, one comment, one reference or even one hint about the political, social or economic situation in Germany or about the ongoing war. There is even not one sentence about the human condition in general. The whole book is centered on and limited to a not very interesting subject: a drunkard.
The book shows more Hans Fallada's total loss of confidence in the `little men' (of his novel `Little Man, what now?'), who joined or supported massively the Nazi Party in Germany. They are personified here in the drunkard's nemesis, Lobedanz (`the lowest scoundrel and hypocrite I ever met in my life'), a `little man' from the `shed district', who became a tiny landlord for working men, as well as a thief and an extortionist.
Moreover, the psychological analysis is not groundbreaking or very deep.
All in all, this novel is a perfect example of what his one time backer, G. Lukács, called `false subjectivity'.
Only for Hans Fallada fans.