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Comedy in a Minor Key (1947)

by Hans Keilson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5612943,691 (3.77)76
Traces the struggles of a Dutch couple who shelter a Jewish man during the Nazi occupation and dispose of his body when he dies of pneumonia.

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» See also 76 mentions

English (22)  Dutch (2)  Basque (1)  Piratical (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
This book is about a Dutch couple who hide a Jewish refugee during WWII. The story is short and spare. The psychological insights of the redeemer and the redeemed are acute. But maybe a person who is a little more introspective than can appreciate the fine pen the author uses. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Very well written and thought provoking story. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
The story of Wim and Marie, a Dutch couple who first hide a Jew they know as Nico before having to dispose of his body when he passes away from pneumonia, is told in this novella. It portrays a penetrating study of common people resisting the Nazi occupation and, true to its title, a dark comedy of wartime manners. This 1947 novella, which has been translated for the first time into English, exhibits Hans Keilson at his very best: profoundly sardonic, perceptive, compassionate, and brilliantly modern, an heir to Joseph Roth and Franz Kafka. Keilson's writing was praised for investigating "the destructive force at work in the twentieth century, down to its deepest psychological and spiritual repercussions" in the citation that came with his award of Germany's prestigious Welt Literature Prize in 2008. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jan 22, 2023 |
Een Nederlands echtpaar laat een jood tijdens WOII bij zich onderduiken. Als de man aan een ziekte sterft, leggen ze het lijk, gekleed in een pyjama van de echtgenoot, in een nabijgelegen park. Doordat ze vergeten zijn de wasserijnummers uit de pyjama te knippen, lopen ze zelf gevaar en moeten ze halsoverkop onderduiken. Ze ervaren nu aan den lijve wat dat betekent. ( )
  joucy | Apr 19, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book. Since I don't usually write reviews, this in itself should show how much I loved it. Wim and Marie live in occupied Holland, and the only way they can resist the new, harsh regime is to allow Nico, a Jew, to hide in their house. When Nico dies, they have to figure out how to get rid of his body. But this short novella is so much more than that. It moves along smoothly between present and past; a few times it takes a few lines to realize that a jump has been made, but the transitions are mostly smooth. Certain passages are absolutely beautiful, and I wanted to read them over and over again.
I easily read the book in two sittings. It's one of the best books I've read this year. It's short; it's simple; it's there. ( )
1 vote hylandk | Nov 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Comedy in a Minor Key" is very much about these issues: the endurance of life in a universe of death....The existential questions, forms the substance of this delicately balanced novel, a book of such profound and understated beauty that it almost seems to function as a parable...But in some sense, "Comedy in a Minor Key" is a testament to the power of consolation in an inconsolable situation, not to make things better but to allow us to see them as they are.
As you might expect from a book titled Comedy in a Minor Key, Hans Keilson’s novella – it’s 136 pages long – is a tonally eccentric work. It’s a mixture of grief, hope, fear and, if such a thing is possible, dry slapstick. ...I think Comedy in a Minor Key is one of the best short novels I’ve ever read...For me, the work’s chief accomplishment, aside from the quickness and subtlety of Keilson’s characterizations, is in its juxtaposition of the day-to-day (the banal) against the historically monstrous (the Second World War, the ruthless hunt for the Jews)..Comedy in a Minor Key is the work of a consummate artist, a wonderful writer. And the most striking thing about it may well be that it has taken so long for such exceptional work to be translated into English.
For busy, harried or distractible readers who have the time and energy only to skim the opening paragraph of a review, I’ll say this as quickly and clearly as possible: “The Death of the Adversary” and “Comedy in a Minor Key” are masterpieces, and Hans Keilson is a genius.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hans Keilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Agirre, Juan LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andreu, CarlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahl, SverreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuitemaker, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Searls, DamionTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Für Leo en Suus in Delft
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"There they are again," the doctor said suddenly.
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Traces the struggles of a Dutch couple who shelter a Jewish man during the Nazi occupation and dispose of his body when he dies of pneumonia.

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