Alone in Berlin

There’s a programme on Radio4 called A Good Read. It features a regular presenter and two guests.

Each week features three books, one from each of them. The books are particular favourites of the people presenting them. All three have to read each book. They then discuss the good, bad and ugly of each book.

Often it’s a bit of a love fest, but sometimes it’s quite electric with some decent debate and glorious disagreement.

I’ve found it’s a good way to hear about books and writers I’ve otherwise not been aware of. It was responsible for my hearing about Hans Fallida and his book The Drinker.

I read (and enjoyed…if that’s the right word) The Drinker after hearing the discussion about it. I then forgot all about the author.

Given I use an eReader, I’m always getting recommendations based on my previous readings and, a few weeks ago, Fallida’ s novel about Nazi dominated Berlin, appeared in my must read selection.

It’s an extraordinary and harrowing novel, showing not just the inhumanity of the Nazi world but also the way ordinary people succeed over tyranny.

It’s a long novel but thoroughly engrossing and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. (Possibly more than The Drinker which reminded me a lot of Charles Buckowski.)

I’d love to recommend Alone in Berlin but I fear it would only appeal to readers who like gritty realism and uncompromising honesty.

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