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Extended Audio Sample Comedy in a Minor Key: A Novel, by Hans Keilson, Damion Searls Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (796 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hans Keilson, Damion Searls Narrator: James Clamp Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 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 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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Quotes & Awards

  • A 2010 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tom | 2/5/2014

    " Good quick read that brings to life the day to day in a period that was so important on the macro scale. Everyday events keep dominating grand themes and it is what most people really care about at the end of the day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jen | 1/26/2014

    " This book is something you should really keep on your physical bookshelf (or in your computer.. or tablet.. or whatever serves your fancy) and every time you feel sorry for yourself - go read it. It's not a 'woe is me' story, it's simply a 'this is a fact' story. Sometimes, you just get caught up in a whirlwind. Sometimes, you just try to do what's right. Sometimes, you put your life on the line for a total stranger. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Anastasia Hobbet | 1/24/2014

    " An achingly spare look at a young couple in WWII Holland who take in a Jewish man to protect him from the Nazis. The couple is ordinary. They have no sense of heroism and they spout no nationalistic or religious ideals. But the circumstances then demanded a lot from even the most ordinary people. These two risk their lives for total strangers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Aengus | 1/8/2014

    " Set in Holland during WW II, a couple loosely affiliated with the Dutch resistance take in a Jewish refugee hiding from the Nazis. After a brief period, they begin to resent one another in small ways. Their lodger becomes even more annoying when he dies. Their displeaure with him grows when they find how difficult clandestine corpse disposal is in a police state. Not a funny book, but a black comedy with insight into the motives of people trying to do the right thing. "

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