I read and was truly thrilled by the amazing Alone In Berlin, as Hans Fallada’s book was retitled for its reprint since having been rediscovered as a lost gem. Following that I read and loved Little Man What Now? and have A Small Circus and Wolf Among Wolves to get through. Then I saw Nightmare In Berlin, set in Berlin in the immediate aftermath of WWII. A nightmare? More than say that depicted in Alone In Berlin, of the Gestapo engaging in the hideous pursuit of a couple sent sideways and into resisting the Nazis for the senseless death of their son. You can smell the sweat, the bad breath of the murderous bureaucrats muttering threats.
What would Nightmare be about? More of the same?! Except would this time the thrill come from seeing the Nazis on the run, seeking to evade detection in the New World Order by blending into the background as bland desk jockeys, or cloaking themselves with the most mundane jobs, like in The Night Porter, far beneath anything anyone who ever donned a golden-brownshirt and armband could consider going back to? Or would they, like in Porter, be part of a sinister self-saving group of Nazis, committed to the cause and one another, and ready to kill anyone attempting to compromise their nostalgic soirees of Swastikas and schnapps?
Well … not really no. A drug addicted writer leaves hospital, goes to Berlin with a young wife, and in the city of rubble they both fall into a complete apathy of morphine addiction and flailing efforts to get writing work / stay out of rehab clinics.
They’re just advanced stoners in a Hellish landscape of unrepetant fascists and hoarders.
Oh. Well. Meh. Shit.
Then you read Fallada’s own biography of the time – and it’s exactly that!
A good read nonetheless, but not what one expect!