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This novella, first published in 1947 and now translated into English for the first time, shows Hans Keilson at his best: deeply ironic, penetrating, sympathetic, and brilliantly modern, an heir to Joseph Roth and Franz Kafka. In 2008, when Keilson received Germany’s prestigious Welt Literature Prize, the citation praised his work for exploring “the destructive impulse at work in the twentieth century, down to its deepest psychological and spiritual ramifications.”
Published to celebrate Keilson’s hundredth birthday, Comedy in a Minor Key - and The Death of the Adversary, reissued in paperback - will introduce American readers and listeners to a forgotten classic author, a witness to World War II, and a sophisticated storyteller whose books remain as fresh as when they first came to light.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By CHET YARBROUGH on 03-07-16
Hans Keilson writes a story about hidden living in Comedy in a minor Key. The horror, the horror… from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness creeps into your mind when listening to Keilson’s story of a German Jew that is hidden by a young married couple in Nazi Germany.
History and fiction meet in Keilson’s story. Keilson is long gone and little remembered but this story places you in a small two-story house, in an upstairs bedroom with the shades drawn, in a grim scene of anxiety and despair. James Clamp has a perfectly accented voice for this tale of gloom because he does not over dramatize Keilson’s words but gives them a solemn and poignant believability.
Aside from the horror of the death of innocence, the story has a kind of happy ending with the married couple returning to their home to begin again. One wonders if beginning again means they will continue to be protectors of the innocent; to be human in a culture that slips into genocide, destruction, and hate.
This is a short book, more of a novella, but it tells a big story that resonates in our own history and the history of all humanity.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Simone on 03-10-13
Ironic and Tragic
How many stories have I read in my life about good, well-meaning people who helped Jews hide during WW2? An innumerable amount! and yet, I never thought about what could or would happen if one of them died while hidden! What do you do? How do you get rid of the body in secret? Is it dangerous? I NEVER considered any of this, yet it must have happened countless times!
I am glad I came across this short story; it was a very interesting (albeit ironically tragic) book.