Setting: WWII, Berlin. When postwoman Eva Kluge delivers one of those letters to the Quangels in Jablonski Strasse, it changes the lives of Otto and Anna Quangel forever. Otto, who has always been loyal and law-abiding, becomes a totally different person with the news of the death of his son at the front: outspoken at work, takes chances in his building to help a Jewess, and he begins a silent campaign against the Führer. Otto is totally secretive at first but slowly, Anna steps in beside him as he writes subversive messages on post cards and leaves them in busy hallways of buildings in different areas around Berlin where others can find them and pass them on. But their post card campaign catches the attention of the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich and a deadly pursuit begins.
Fallada’s novel, based on a true story and including documentary evidence at the end of the novel, reveals many wartime realities in Berlin — the persecution, betrayal of neighbours, corruption within the police and a prison system full of torture, abuse, terror, and brutality. It is a gripping tale of how a few people try to alert fellow citizens to the futility and pay the ultimate price. It is a complex tale of resistance in various forms, criminal activity, and love and hope. Excellent writing and intertwining stories that all centre in one way or another around Otto and Anna. It’s one of those books that, once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down. * * * * *