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The Drinker Paperback – 30 May 1990

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Paperback, 30 May 1990
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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Marlboro Press,The,U.S.; Reprint edition (30 May 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091039556X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910395564
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,004,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

De drinker is een even pijnlijke als grootse roman. Het is ook Fallada's meest persoonlijke roman, die laat zien dat hij een van de belangrijkste Duitse schrijvers van de twintigste eeuw is. (Bas Heijne Een gevangene van zichzelf***** 20120713) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

De levensmiddelenhandelaar Erwin Sommer komt door een zakelijke tegen slag en drankgebruik in grote financiële problemen. Hij geeft zich over aan de alcohol en vervreemdt steeds meer van zijn vrouw Magda, voor wie hij zijn tegen spoed aanvankelijk verzwijgt.
Wanneer Sommer een groot bedrag van zijn bankrekening opneemt uit angst dat zijn echtgenote die zal blokkeren, pikt zijn tijdelijke kamerverhuurder Polakowski daar een flink deel van in. Over de rest ontfermt Elinor zich, het barmeisje met wie Sommer een band van liefde en begrip meende op te bouwen.
Bij een handgemeen met zijn echtgenote grijpt de beschonken Sommer haar bij de keel. Dit leidt tot een beschuldiging van poging tot doodslag, die tot zijn verbijstering door de politie serieus wordt genomen. Sommer komt in een nachtmerrie terecht. In plaats van de verwachte spoedige vrijlating uit de gevangenis wordt hij berecht, ontoerekeningsvatbaar verklaard en in een gesloten kliniek opgenomen. In nazi- Duitsland, leert hij, is een dergelijke maatregel zonder enig nader onderzoek mogelijk.
Het verhaal over de neergang van de drinker is tragisch en tegelijkertijd vervuld van goede moed en vast vertrouwen dat alles zich ten goede zal keren.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read Hans Fallada's 'The Drinker' eight years ago and my second reading of it confirms all its macabre power to haunt its readers. Written in just two weeks in a German lunatic asylum in 1944, this hypnotic, compelling story of a respectable businessman's alcohol-induced descent into squalour and psychic collapse will sober its merriest reader. Based on events in Fallada's own life, the novel takes us into the progressively warped worldview of one Erwin Sommer - well off, middle class, insecure; a man who will soon discover all the charm and malignant power of a flight into self-destructice alcoholism. Estrangement, Paranoia and Victimisation are Sommer's travelling companions on this journey with only the passing comfort of the bottle for solace. Despite 'The Drinker' lacking any reference to the events of Germany,1944, the reader may soon find himself wondering to what extent Erwin Sommer's experiences are analogous to the descent of Germany in the years of the Hitler period. 'The Drinker' is not for those seeking a comforting or moral conclusion. For the reader who is fascinated by the extremes of human psychology and experience, this book book will stay etched in your mind.
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I discovered Hans Fallada a few months ago, was immediately hooked, and this is now the third of his books I've read. Once again I'm absolutely amazed that this superb writer is not lauded more loudly from the rooftops!

This book is a brilliant and moving study of a small businessman whose whole life unravels due to alcoholism.

It is a work of such depth, pathos and humour that it's near impossible to believe it was secretly written in just two weeks in the confines of a German insane asylum! However it's extremely easy to believe and understand why Fallada was viewed as suspect and undesirable by the Nazis and was incarcerated by them in just such an asylum...

The physical and psychological decline into alcoholism and rapid spiral into financial ruin, marriage breakup and nervous breakdown is really powerfully and poignantly illustrated. The self-delusion and bravado shown in dealings with his wife, girlfriend, financial and business colleagues is tragic, brutal, distressing - but in many places is actually laugh-out-loud funny too!

Fallada details the despair and Catch-22 misery of asylum life and the strategies and cunning required to survive its rigours in a way that only a real inmate could. Again there are many flashes of wit and humour in the descriptions of the hardships endured with the motley and somewhat grotesque collection of patients and staff.

As with Fallada's other books I just cannot recommend this too highly.
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Format: Paperback
I was introduced to this author a few years ago by an elderly neighbour who had accumulated a vast library over a best part of 60 years. I won't say anything regarding the story as it could spoil it for those who intend to read the book. The author had a tragic life and that is evident in the realism and understanding he portrays in this novel. Set in the first part of the century in Germany it follows a man whose life is destroyed by alcohol. As tragic a case then as it is today and still very much a social problem. I read this book over a five day period and was frequently surprised at how the character went from success to failure again and again. At the conclusion it left me in a state of reflection on how fragile our lives can be. A must read however if your looking for a comedy read, this isn't the book.
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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.
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'The Drinker' is not only an exploration of alcoholism, but also of human egotism and the fragility of the basis of most human lives. Written in the first person, it vividly creates, as no other novel has done before or since, the descent of a human being into alcoholism while, with consummate artistry, letting the reader see how the alcoholic is viewed by those around him. The range of human weaknesses thus explored is extensive: selfishness, arrogance, complacency, paranoia, lack of empathy, reliance on social status for identity - and much more. And, as with all Fallada's novels, it engages the reader from the beginning, is forever unpredictable, and is impossible to put down.
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