Small Circus by Hans Fallada
(Penguin Hardback Classics)

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Stylistically, the novel is typical of the so-called "new sobriety" of the period.


It is the summer of 1929, and in a small German town, a storm is brewing.

Tredup, a shabby reporter working for the Pomeranian Chronicle, leads a precarious existence . . . until he takes some photographs that offer him a chance to make a fortune.

While Tredup contemplates his next move, the town is buzzing. Farmers are plotting their revenge against greedy officials, a mysterious traveling salesman is stirring up trouble, and all the while, the Nazi party grows stronger as the Communists fight them in the street.

As the town slowly slips into chaos, Mayor “Fatty” Gareis does everything in his power to seek the easy life.

As tensions mount between workers and bosses, town and country, and Left and Right, alliances are broken, bribes are taken, and plots are hatched, until the tension spills over into violence.

From the brilliant mind of one of Germany’s most celebrated writers, A Small Circus is a genuine and frightening tale of small-town Germany during a time of unrest. It belongs in the collection of every reader who has enjoyed his break-out classics.

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About Hans Fallada

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Hans Fallada was one of the best-known German writers of the twentieth century. Born on 21 July 1893 in Greifswald as Rudolf Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen, he took his pen name from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. His most famous works include the novels Little Man, What Now?, The Drinker and the bestselling Alone in Berlin. Fallada died from an overdose of morphine on 5 February 1947 in Berlin. Michael Hofmann is the author of several books of poems and a book of criticism, Behind the Lines, and the translator of many modern and contemporary authors. Penguin publish his translations of Fallada's Alone in Berlin and Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism, Kafka's Amerika and Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Ernst Jünger's Storm of Steel and Irmgard Keun's Child of All Nations.
Published January 6, 2015 by Arcade Publishing. 620 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Small Circus
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0


Above average
on Dec 22 2014

A meticulously detailed chronicle of provincial politicking and small-town pettiness with haunting contemporary resonance.

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Above average
Reviewed by Ben Hutchinson on Mar 03 2012

Stylistically, the novel is typical of the so-called "new sobriety" of the period.

Read Full Review of Small Circus (Penguin Hardbac... | See more reviews from Guardian

Toronto Star

Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Jun 01 2012

A Small Circus inevitably will be read as a document of historical interest, but the machinations of the characters are themselves an absorbing story, and a portrait of how tough and changing times make for tough choices and moral compromise.

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