A very slim but powerful read that I really enjoyed. This was a Christmas gift/recommendation from my mom, and I’m glad she did gift it to me, as it’s right up my alley of related interests. This book especially struck me because it was published before the war began in 1938, but it is so prescient and clear minded about the moral and physical dangers of the rising fascism in Germany. It has that timeless air to it of a book that saw the future and is thus an important historical document. The message also remains pertinent and timely today.
Address Unknown is an epistolary novel of letters between Max Eistenstein, a Jewish art dealer in America, and his close friend and business partner Martin Schulse, who has returned to their native Germany to live with his family. The two men consider each other brothers and their letters start off open and full of affection. Having grown up and gone into business together, their families are also close and Martin was romantically involved with Max’s sister at one point. However, as Nazism rises in Germany, we see Martin’s choice to become involved with the party and the terrible consequences that result from his decisions and moral weakness.
As previously stated, this is a very short book (you could argue it is basically a short story, but it does say Novel on the cover so I’m counting it), but the contents really stick with you, and its power to get across banal, commonplace evil is very strong. I admire the clarity of the message and the amount of emotional truth contained within so few pages. The characters also really come to life, as you’re reading their thoughts directly in letter form. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the ease with which seemingly upright people can slip into evil.