Its Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. At the house on 55 Jablonski Strasse, its various occupants try to live under Nazi rule in their different ways: the bullying Hitler loyalists the Persickes, the retired judge Fromm and the unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel. Then the Quangels receive the news that their son has been killed.
It is summer, 1929, and in a small German town a storm is brewing. The shabby reporter Tredup leads a precarious existence working for the "Pomeranian Chronicle" - until he takes some photographs that offer the chance to make a fortune. In Kruger's bar, the farmers are plotting their revenge on greedy officials.
.I stare at the coffee I poured myself, and I think: caffeine is a poison that stimulates the heart. There are plenty of instances of people killing themselves with coffee, hundreds and thousands of them. Caffeine is a deadly poison, maybe almost as deadly as morphine. Why didn't it ever occur to me before: coffee is my friend!' Drawing on Hans Fallada's own history of addiction, these two stories and are written with a remarkable, tough, spartan clarity. As a man desperately, haplessly tries to get enough morphine to make it through the day and a drunk embezzler struggles to get himself arrested, they are at one second crushing, the next darkly comic.
This book includes A Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism and Three Years of Life.