- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 3 hours and 18 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 30, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0045BXB9C
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Comedy in a Minor Key: A Novel Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Hans Keilson is enjoying new attention with English language readers due to the first English translation of Comedy in a Minor Key even though it was originally published in 1947, as well as the re-issue of his book The Death of the Adversary. This slim volume (only 135 pages) quietly relates a bleakly funny tale about human compassion that is startling and deeply affecting.
What I find so exciting about this work it wryly breaks expectations. As Marie observes thinking about the man they have concealed "He had defended himself against death from without, and then it had carried him off from within. It was like a comedy where you expect the hero to emerge onstage, bringing resolution, from the right. And out he comes from the left." For Wim, Marie, and Nico, their actions aren't those of heroes. Marie feels slighted by her guest concealing from her, Wim fumbles in banal yet clandestine operations, and even Nico commits selfish acts. In their efforts to do something grand, life in all its accidents and frustrations interrupts.Read more ›
Kielson adeptly develops the characters of all three characters, helping the reader to feel as though they were (1) the "man of the house" in WWII Belgium seeking to do the right thing, (2) the housewife forced to deal with the everyday realities of hiding a man in her home without allowing the neighbors to find out and (3) the man hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a couple he never knew because his background makes him eligible for death. Kielson moves from the mind of each character frequently, sometimes within the same paragraph, forcing the reader to think about the same conversation through each person's lens.
Kielson also employs a narrative device that is particularly powerful in the novel: he moves back and forth in time without warning or background. This often gives the novel the feel of being timeless, almost infinite. This is especially effective when considering the point of view of Nico, as he (and anyone in his situation) must have felt that time almost stood still at moments, and then suddenly jumped forward with events of great magnitude. Kielson helps the reader to have similar emotions, sometimes feeling that time was almost standing still and then suddenly a great burst of information or events would occur.Read more ›
The title is curious but a well chosen one. One does not usually equate comedy with the Holocaust but in this case it is dark comedy which applies to the twist and turns in the lives of an ordinary Dutch couple, Wim and his wife Marie, who as their patriotic duty resist the Nazi occupation of their country by taking into their protection a Jewish man they know only as Nico.
This novella of 135 pages is best experienced rather than merely read quickly. Keilson's prose is beautiful and sweet, powerful and stirring. With a penetrating and intimate honesty he reveals the psychological calculus of a man in hiding from the Nazi cattle cars and of those compassionate individuals who hide him and protect him. It is a short tale but an unforgettable one and it can be read in a matter of hours, but I must tell you this... I could not turn its pages fast enough and every moment of my absorption was spent rigid on the edge of my chair.
I was most riveted to the suspense of those things Keilson left unsaid in this beautiful novella. It is completely understood without explanation the risks Wim and Marie take in hiding Nico and it also goes without saying what awaits Nico if he is discovered by the Nazi police.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A jewel of novel, sensitive, surprising and beautifully crafted.Published 3 months ago by Allan Leicht
The cover says this is a "novel." A novella at best. I think it's a short story. But it is quite well-written, an interesting premise and, sometimes this is nice, a... Read morePublished 14 months ago by P. E. Knopick
This novelette (only 132 pages) explores the feelings and fears of a Dutch couple who hide a Jewish perfume salesman in their upstairs bedroom during the middle of the Nazi... Read morePublished 16 months ago by AYJ
How appropriate that I began reading this on Pearl harbor Day. There is nothing very funny in this book. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ligtstar
...and much else. Hans Keilson lived the full life, to the ripe age of 101. During the Second World War he was in the Dutch resistance. Read morePublished 16 months ago by John P. Jones III
The author of this small gem, Hans Keilson, was a German Jew who had fled to Holland to escape the Nazis and then, after the Wehrmacht overran the Netherlands, went underground. Read morePublished 17 months ago by R. M. Peterson
What an amazing little book. It touches most human conditions, fear, grief, pride, love, betrayal, anger, loneliness, and I could go on. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Vickii M. Ellis
the characters in this book were unappealing.
They seemed to have no emotions.
the whole book was shallow I thought