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Hans Fallada's life story reads like an outsized novel. Before World War II, his novels were international bestsellers and his first big success Little Man, What Now? (1933) was adapted into a Hollywood movie. After the rise of the Nazis to power that year, his work was banned from being sold outside Germany. He refused to join the Nazi party and was arrested by the Gestapo; although released, he was regularly interrogated by the Nazis about his writing. He refused to flee the country. The pressure took its toll and as he resorted to drugs and alcohol for relief; he was eventually imprisoned in an asylum for the criminally insane. He survived and was freed at the end of the war. But he was a shattered man and died in 1947 at age 53. He remained a popular writer in Germany after his death, but outside his own country he faded into obscurity for decades. Then in 2009, American publishers began reissuing his works in translation and his talents were rediscovered.
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