Life Goes On by Hans Keilson
A Novel

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"Life Goes On" puts a profoundly sympathetic human face on economic hardship.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Published when the author was just twenty-three, Life Goes On was Hans Keilson's literary debut, an extraordinary autobiographical novel that paints a dark yet illuminating portrait of Germany between the world wars. It is the story of Herr Seldersen—a Jewish store owner modeled on Keilson's father, a textile merchant and decorated World War I veteran—along with his wife and son, Albrecht, and the troubles they encounter as the German economy collapses and politics turn rancid.

The book was banned by the Nazis in 1934. Shortly afterward, following his editor's advice, Keilson emigrated to the Netherlands, where he would spend the rest of his life.

Life Goes On is an essential volume for readers of Keilson's later work. At the age of one hundred, with his one copy of the first edition of Life Goes On in hand, Keilson told The New York Times that he would love to see his first novel reissued, and translated as well. "Then you would have my whole biography," he told them. He died at the age of one hundred and one.

 

About Hans Keilson

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Hans Keilson is the author of Comedy in a Minor Key. Born in Germany in 1909, he published his first novel in 1933. During World War II he joined the Dutch resistance. Later, as a psychotherapist, he pioneered the treatment of war trauma in children. In a 2010 New York Times review, Francine Prose called Keilson a “genius” and “one of the world’s very greatest writers.” He died in 2011 at the age of 101.
 
Published October 30, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 273 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Life Goes On
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Judith Shulevitz on Jan 04 2013

...that lack of specificity, I have to say, makes this novel a little weird to read. Keilson tells us that he had to cut the ideological content out of the ending, but the rest of the book feels as if it’s been neutered too.

Read Full Review of Life Goes On: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Nov 22 2012

"Life Goes On" puts a profoundly sympathetic human face on economic hardship.

Read Full Review of Life Goes On: A Novel | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for Life Goes On
82%

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