Comedy in a Minor Key

Comedy in a Minor Key

3.6 26
by Hans Keilson
     
 

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A penetrating study of ordinary people resisting the Nazi occupation--and, true to its title, a dark comedy of wartime manners--Comedy in a Minor Key tells the story of Wim and Marie, a Dutch couple who first hide a Jew they know as Nico, then must dispose of his body when he dies of pneumonia. This novella, first published in 1947 and now translated into

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Overview

A penetrating study of ordinary people resisting the Nazi occupation--and, true to its title, a dark comedy of wartime manners--Comedy in a Minor Key tells the story of Wim and Marie, a Dutch couple who first hide a Jew they know as Nico, then must dispose of his body when he dies of pneumonia. 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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Francine Prose
The Death of the Adversary and Comedy in a Minor Key are masterpieces, and Hans Keilson is a genius…Although the novels are quite different, both are set in Nazi-occupied Europe and display their author's eye for perfectly illustrative yet wholly unexpected incident and detail, as well as his talent for story­telling and his extraordinarily subtle and penetrating understanding of human nature. But perhaps the most distinctive aspect they share is the formal daring of the relationship between subject matter and tone…Rarely have such harrowing narratives been related with such wry, off-kilter humor, and in so quiet a whisper. Read these books and join me in adding [Keilson] to the list, which each of us must compose on our own, of the world's very greatest writers.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374532857
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
08/02/2011
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
616,607
Product dimensions:
4.82(w) x 7.52(h) x 0.42(d)

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