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on October 25, 2010
Based upon an actual event (an ill-fated husband-wife conspiracy) in Berlin during the Nazi regime, this novel reveals the paranoia-inducing police-state, with informants everywhere, including within the nuclear family; the brutality of the clerk-mentality elevated to power; and the victimizing by the sociopaths and other flotsam of society that rose through the ranks of the Nazi party. The style is engaging, making for a fast read; the cavalcade of characters is fascinating and believable; and the pathos evoked by the thwarted aspirations of the good people (for whom the reader forms great sympathy/empathy) becomes frightening - how easy it is for a society to slip to the depths of persecution and control, and how difficult it can be to make any difference by attempting to inform, or conspire with, others or to rebel against such a machine.
I had done previous reading on the holocaust/Nazi Germany for a moral philosophy course paper: this novel, by Hans Keilson, who lived in Berlin during WWII, and experienced the terror, the mind-control, and the efficiency of the police state, opened my eyes to one aspect I had not previously dealt with adequately: how, when the punishment is certain death (by beheading!) does an average person avoid being a cog in the machine, and how does a person make a moral stand that is more than a gesture? The novel seems desperate to find an answer, but....
An amazing little novel.
Comedy In A Minor Key
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