Pub Date 04 Feb 2014
For Willi Kufult, prison life means staying out of trouble, keeping his cell clean, snagging a precious piece of tobacco, and dreaming of the day of his release.
Then he gets out.
As Willi tries to make a new life for himself in Hamburg, finding a job and even love, he still cannot escape his past. Gradually he becomes sucked into a world of drink, desperation, and deceit—and, with one terrible act, he is ensnared in a noose of his own making.
Hans Fallada, whose influential works include Alone in Berlin and The Drinker, brilliantly crafts a dark and moving story— describing a seedy criminal underworld of shabby lives and violent deeds, and showing how our actions always catch up with us. Yet Once a Jailbird remains a novel that is “lit by love, the love of truth and love of humanity; it has the courage to look things in the eye, and to sketch them exactly as they were” (Hermann Hesse).
“Lit by love, the love of truth and love of humanity; it has the courage to look things in the eye, and to sketch them exactly as they were.”—Hermann Hesse
“Absolutely on the money, from the slang of the cons, to the refuge of its hero in the blissful hermitage of prison.”—Albert Ehrenstein