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Wat nu, kleine man? by Hans Fallada
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Wat nu, kleine man? (1932)

by Hans Fallada, Nico Rost (tra), Dirk Verstraete (dj)

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6192215,730 (3.96)28
Member:karamazow
Title:Wat nu, kleine man?
Authors:Hans Fallada
Other authors:Nico Rost (tra), Dirk Verstraete (dj)
Info:Reinaert Reeks 228 (B), "Kleiner Mann was nun?", 09341
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, translated

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Little Man, What Now? by Hans Fallada (1932)

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» See also 28 mentions

English (10)  Italian (3)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  All (22)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
' "We're still very young. And we've got nobody." '
By sally tarbox on 12 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Highly readable novel set in 1930s Germany, where survival in an economic depression was extremely tough.
The story starts with a starry-eyed young couple in love - Hans and his 'Lammchen' - going to seek family-planning advice, but emerging with the information that they are to be parents.
As life gets harder, with employers constantly getting more demanding, prices rising, and jobs few and far between, Fallada follows this totally believable little family in short chapters with light-hearted titles (eg 'Lammchen has a vsitor and looks at herself in the mirror. No one mentions money all evening').
Enjoyable and beautifully written. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
While the philosophical reach of this book is not very deep, it is such a beautifully written novel, so effectively uncovering the simple, irrevocable realities of the human condition. So simple is the little man of Fallada that he's not something most anyone reading his book will even relate to directly, but will identify with nonetheless, for the very fact that the little man is present in all of us, the same desires, needs, fears, and the same love and beauty which we have either found, or are awaiting. ( )
  AZG1001 | Mar 31, 2016 |
An interesting read that gives insight into what it was like to be a white collar worker in Berlin just prior to WWII. This is a fictional account of two newlyweds, but it should be noted that the author did extensive research on the subject and managed to portray an accurate picture of the struggles at the time. What makes the book so engaging is the humorous aspect that pervades the story - some critics have compared the main character to Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp. A series of unfortunate events are consistently cushioned by the humor in the characters and plot line.

What struck me the most about this volume is how much of the occurrences taking place in this book are similar to what goes on in modern times - note the manner in which employees are told to be grateful that they have a job by employers who abuse them and create unreasonable performance standards for the current economy. Some aspects of the human experience are universal and transcend time and culture. ( )
  Neftzger | Mar 19, 2015 |
This is the third book by Fallada I have read following on the heels of [Every Man Dies Alone] (or Alone in Berlin) and [The Drinker]. I have enjoyed every single one. Kudos has to be given to the translator, in this instance Susan Bennett, who makes this work so accessible. One day I will be fully conversant in German and be able to read the original! Until then, I shall enjoy the translated works which we are fortunate enough to have.

Little Man What Now? tells the story of a young, newly married couple living through uncertain times and financial hardship. The threat of unemployment and homelessness is never far away. Sonny Pinneberg is a menswear salesman under extreme pressure from a manager who holds unrealistic expectations of his staff by increasing quotas which they must reach to get paid or face losing their jobs. His new wife, Lammchen, is expecting their first baby.

The couple is clearly in love but lacking in funds. They somehow manage to work through the hardships they face with dignity, humour and the view that something good will happen soon. As with all the books I've read by Fallada, there is a sense of truth and honesty in the characters and in the story he presents. The story also transcends geography and time and the fact that this was based in Berlin in 1932 doesn't seem to matter. Many of the conversations Lammchen and Sonny have could surely be taking place in many homes across the globe today. They bicker, make up, laugh, cry and argue over things such as which is the right way to care for a child? What are they are going to eat? How to make ends meet? What shall we spend our little bit of money on? and so forth. However, there is more than enough lightness and humour filtering through the pages which leads the story on to be engaging and hopeful rather than dark and dreary.

Fallada wrote during times of hardship and the Depression. He also suffered greatly throughout his life. At 16 he was run over by a horse-drawn cart and a year later he contracted typhoid. He was a tormented soul having life-long struggles with drugs and alcohol, several suicide attempts, one of which led to the death (manslaughter) of a friend following a botched suicide pact. He also had numerous stays in mental institutions. It's not surprising Fallada was influenced by what was happening around him and thus wrote about the darker and tougher side of life. However, despite all he experienced, his writing always manages to convey warmth, humour, hope and humanity which seep through the characters and relationships he brilliantly portrays. Whilst often hard hitting, you're never far away from a joke, a bit of hope or a warm hug from Fallada's accessible and affable writing.

I love his works and have to say he has firmly become a leader in the running for my all time favourite author. Written in 1932, and just before the Nazis came to power, Little Man What Now seems as relevant today as I am sure it did then. ( )
1 vote lilywren | Mar 15, 2014 |
This novel is usually presented as a sympathetic portrait of struggling common people in the economic depression of the early 1930s. Much of it still rings true. What struck me, however, was the portrayal of the practical, loving women to whom the struggling men turn. These women remind me (anxiously) of stereotypes later made grotesque by the Nazis, but at the same time I imagine a talented writer re-setting this story in roughly the same time period (or a little earlier) in Harlem or the South Side of Chicago.
  Nycticebus | Jun 23, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hans Falladaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Øverland, ArnulfForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Øverland, ArnulfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bennett, SusanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monton, RamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Revel, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rost, NicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutton, EricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'He walked slowly on. There were the law-courts and there were the cells. Perhaps there were other tormented souls behind those lightless barred windows. You ought to know about such things; perhaps life would be easier if you did. But you were so terribly ignorant. You went on your way ,thinking your own thoughts, horribly alone, and on an evening like this you didn't know where to go.
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First published in Germany in 1932, Fallada's documentary novel is a portrait of Germany during its period of economic and political breakdown prior to the advent of Hitler.

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