Almost 100 years after Hans Fallada committed himself to prison, previously unpublished and rewritten stories by the bestselling mid-century German author have been discovered.
It was the turning point before he became a bestselling author: Hans Fallada handed himself in to the police in September 1925, following repeated cases of embezzlement to finance his alcohol and morphine addiction.
At the time, a court-appointed doctor was assigned to assess the extent to which Fallada could be made accountable. This expert opinion, thought to have been lost, was only recently rediscovered. It is an extraordinary find, because it includes unpublished and rewritten stories by Fallada that reveal his early, unparalleled insight into the female psyche, and that focus on hitherto taboo topics such as rape and abortion.
The title character, Lilly, is a young, untamed, headstrong girl. She sets out to ‘play’ with a young man, but ends up losing control of the situation. Barely able to hide her questionable actions, she ends up in a sanatorium, where she engages in a bizarre duel of reciprocal manipulation with another patient. In the end, it is impossible to tell who is victorious.
Marie and Thilde, the protagonists of two other stories, are strong women who rebel against the pre-established patterns imposed on them by society, while two male outsiders, Pogg and Robinson, seek refuge and hope in a prison cell.
These stories — written while the author was relishing the opportunity in prison to free himself of his addictions — reveal to a new generation of readers Fallada’s immense gifts and his intense battles with the dynamics of human relationships.