Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The post in which I stump for Hans(just not me).
Earlier today I sent out our monthly e-mail newsletter(let us know at email@example.com if you want to start getting it) and I touched briefly on the fact that so very many people these days are asking us, "So, how are things going?" It can be asked with trepidation or commiseration or with compassion. The economy, in short and as we all well know, is not so great. Regardless of small or large business or what type of industry people are in it's tough sledding right now. No different here. Yet I'm choosing to take an optimistic viewpoint and think of this as a time to re-focus on what's important(the customers and the books) and choose our stock carefully and handsell those books we believe in even more wholeheartedly.
I also know that people are mostly exhausted by the constant chatter regarding "the economy." So I try to avoid it mostly. We're trying to get even more remainders in on regular basis to give customers various price options and always on the look-out for more great paperback options.
But who and what I really want to talk about today is Hans. Not to worry: I haven't gotten all third person on y'all. Hans Fallada is a writer that wonderful Melville House publishing is trying to bring back to the reading world's minds. His novels written during the Nazi regime--often written in code in small notebooks--have been suppressed and banishedat various times. Fallada's personal story is as wild and sad and unbelievable as any fictional story could ever be and I'll leave his biography those who read his books and those who wikipedia. But the novels--they deserve some talking about.
"The Drinker" and "Little Man, What Now?" have both been published in paperback for $16.95. These are re-prints and both had fans like Thomas Mann, Graham Greene and Herman Hesse to name a few serious heavyweights. It's exciting to see them published anew and available to new audiences. The real prize, in my mind, is the never before translated "Every Man Dies Alone". When we got an advance reader copy a few months back I handed it off to my mom who is a book-devouring machine. She read it and told me how fantastic she thought it was. Now that I'm fifty pages from the finish I have to agree. The book was written in 24 days(no typo) and is based on real-life events. A gorgeous jacket with cool inlaid maps accompany this book. Melville House has done American readers a great service by bringing these books to us. I hope they find enthusiastic readers both near and far. Go here http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/books/review/Schillinger-t.html?_r=2&ref=books to read a recent review. I do hope that, like "Suite Francaise", a book can find a deserving chance at life.