Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book twenty-eight: Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson.

First published in 1947, Hans Keilson's novella Comedy in a Minor Key is a delight.  Maybe delight is the wrong word to use to describe a book about World War II.  But somehow, this story about a couple who decides to hide a Jewish man from the Nazi's is rewarding in an unexpected way.
I don't want to give too much away about the plot because I hope you'll read the book.  Wim and Marie are a loving couple who make significant sacrifices to help save the life of a complete stranger.  The result is a tale about people doing what's right, even when they're nervous about their decision.  It's a story that reminds us that doing what's right is a reward in itself.  But it's also a reminder that doing what's right, doesn't guarantee the rewards that so many stories would have us believe.  This novel makes me want to be a better, kinder person, even if being that person creates problems.
Short enough to be read in an afternoon, Comedy in a Minor Key is written in a simple, straightforward style.  But that doesn't mean it's simplistic.  The structure of the story is intricate and engaging. I'm definitely going to read Keilson's other book that was recently re-released in English.

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