I find it interesting that in this historic week when Osama Bin Laden was found and killed, I completed Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada about another manhunt. This one, which took place in Nazi Germany during WW II, was told from the standpoint of the hunted.
The charge in the book was not for killing a single individual, but rather for distributing hundreds of postcards containing anti-government messages. The book is based on the actual case of a couple (Otto and Elise Hampel) who did just that in wartime Berlin, keeping the Gestapo and the SS at bay for three years. It’s an interesting insight into the mindset of those who are hunted. It portrays the criminal process in wartime Germany as a total sham. I won’t say what happens in the end in case my fellow book club members are reading, but I will say it was a story with twists and turns and more brutality than I can normally manage to stomach.
In both the story and the today’s reality there is a finality. But instead of emphasizing the banality of evil as Bin Laden’s story does, Fallada’s novel emphasizes the banality of good.