En poursuivant votre navigation sur ce site, vous acceptez l'utilisation de cookies. Ces derniers assurent le bon fonctionnement de nos services. En savoir plus.


Rediscovering Hans Fallada

Dear weblog readers,


Everyone dies alone.jpgWe would like to draw your attention on the publication of a English translation of “Jeder Stirbt für Sich Allein” by Melville House  due for next year in March.

You can already read a review published on the Publisher Weekly website at:

And read more news and also access to the press release document (PDF) on the Melville House web site at : http://www.mhpbooks.com/book.php?id=164.

There you can also have a look of the covers for further publications : ‘The Drinker’ and ‘Little Man, What Now? (follow the links).

As far as “Every Man Dies Alone” is concerned, there are some ‘new items’ – unfortunately not avalaible in the French original version by Plon, 1967) nor in the reprint by Denoël (2002) – as the Melville House edition will include the couple's mug shots and selections from their Gestapo file and from trial transcripts as well as some of the anti-Reich postcards they distributed (1).




Rediscovering Hans Fallada


An author of classic German works gets his due in English via Melville House


by Judith Rosen -- Publishers Weekly, 10/13/2008




Can the novels of a drug-addicted author that portray life in Germany in the 1930s and '40s find an audience today? Melville House is counting on the answer being “yes” and has invested a “serious” sum, for a small press, to resurrect the works of Hans Fallada (born Rudolf Ditzen, 1894–1947), once regarded as one of the 20th-century's leading voices.

Publisher Dennis Johnson regards Fallada as one of Germany's great writers, on a par with Bertolt Brecht, but Johnson says he's especially interested in recovering lost literature from the period between the two world wars in Germany—and in writers who stayed there. Fallada, he notes, refused to leave his homeland even though his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a yacht to get him and his family out.

As part of Johnson's commitment to Fallada, whose pen name is taken from two Grimm fairy tales, he hired the award-winning translator and respected poet Michael Hofmann to do the first English-language translation of Every Man Dies Alone (Jeder Stirbt für Sich Allein), which Primo Levi called “the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis.” Fallada wrote the novel in a white heat in 24 days and based it on a working-class couple who took a stance against the Reich. The Melville House edition will include the couple's mug shots and selections from their Gestapo file and from trial transcripts as well as some of the anti-Reich postcards they distributed. Fallada died of a morphine overdose just weeks before the book was released.

Johnson also purchased world rights in English to four other Fallada novels, including his 1932 international bestseller, Little Man, What Now? (Kleiner Mann, Was Nun?), about a young couple's struggles to survive the German economic collapse in the early '30s. In Germany, it went through 45 printings in one year and rights were sold for 11 languages. In the U.S., it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and went on to become a Universal Pictures movie in 1934, directed by Frank Borzage.

Every Man Dies Alone is due out in hardcover in March along with paperback reissues of Little Man, What Now? and Fallada's autobiographical tale of a man's descent into drunkenness, The Drinker, which he wrote in code while he was incarcerated in a Nazi insane asylum. Melville House will publish two additional novels in paperback over the next two years. “The books we're publishing,” says Johnson, “chart the fall of Germany from the end of the first world war to the collapse of the Reich. His best books he wrote looking out the window. He wrote accurately to the scene of what was going on.”


The Next Némirovsky?


As part of its marketing efforts for Every Man Dies Alone, Melville House has tried to connect Fallada's work about Germany during World War II to Irène Némirovsky's bestseller about the same period in France, Suite Française. With the press's decision to move the pub date back to the spring, when it will also shift its distribution to Random House, the books will have the same sales force. “This is a great book for our new marriage with Melville House,” says Skip Dye, v-p of sales services and operations at Random House.

RH's imprint sales director, Lane Jantzen, is bullish about the prospects for Every Man Dies Alone. “My feeling is this book will eventually become required reading along the lines of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth,” Jantzen says. “I think it's going to have a very long tail, and it's going to get started in the independents.” Certainly independent booksellers like Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh, N.C., are poised to embrace it. “Being an independent store, we support independent publishers,” says Olson. “The Fallada novels are wonderful books. I'm glad they're bringing them back.” Given the success not just of Suite Française but also of Alan Furst and Joseph Roth, Barry Rossnick, trade book buyer for San Francisco's Books Inc., anticipates strong interest in Fallada. Rossnick's planning to do an endcap with all three Fallada books.

“Fallada's novels have the potential to be right up my alley,” says Robert Fader, buyer at Posman in Grand Central Station, New York City. For him, however, the success of the books rests on Melville House's ability to market them and to get reviews. Melville House will seed the market with its largest galley printing ever, 1,000 copies for Every Man Dies Alone. The book should also get a boost from Penguin's simultaneous release on the other side of the Atlantic.



(1) [Ed note] The novel is actually based on the true story of Elise and Otto Hampel, who were arrested by the Gestapo in Berlin, trialed and subsequently beheaded in 1943. Hans Fallada was given access to the Gestapo’s file to write his novel.



13:33 Publié dans Actualité | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

Les commentaires sont fermés.