Fallada – The Last Chapter
German novelist Hans Fallada lives with his family in a small, remote town. His craving for peace and harmony collides with his own inner turmoil and the growing power of the Nazis. Believing that he can stay out of politics, Fallada is conflicted when the Propaganda Ministry wants him to write an anti-Semitic work in the style of Veit Harlan’s The Ruler. He falls into a deep depression as substance abuse replaces writing. His wife Anna cares for him and endures her husband’s aggressions and infidelities. She leaves him, however, when he falls in love with the young widow Ursula. This new love briefly gives Fallada a new thirst for life, but Ursula is a morphine addict and pulls him further into the abyss.
When the war is over, the Red Army makes Fallada mayor; but the challenges of carrying out the duties of such an unfamiliar position lead him to numb himself even further with drugs. He is filled with hope when people in the new, German-Soviet film industry encourage him to work on a story about an old couple that gets involved in anti-fascist resistance. Within four weeks, he writes his novel Every Man Dies Alone. His body has been pushed beyond its limits and he ends up in the hospital, where he dies in February 1947.
In recent years, Melville House rediscovered Hans Fallada’s works and published several of his masterpieces in English translation: Every Man Dies Alone; The Drinker; Little Man, What Now?; and Wolf among Wolves. All books received rave reviews and became bestsellers in the U.S. and the UK.