Saturday, July 28, 2012

Address Unknown by Kressmann Taylor

Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann TaylorOriginally published in Story Magazine in 1938, this is the fictional account, through letters of an America Jew called Max and his German friend Martin. 

We join the story as Martin and his family relocate from America back to their homeland of Germany. They have been business partners and friends and once the relocation happens Martin and Max continue their business dealings and friendship with Max sending Martin chatty letters which contain brief financial details.

The year is 1932. Germany is not in a good shape, there is poverty. We are at the eve of the rise of Hitler in Germany and he is bring hope to the people....

Over the coming pages we see the once sturdy relationship and friendship of Max and Martin come under strain. Martin is greatly influenced by the political developments in Germany and how those of Jewish descent are being treated. Max continues writing, despite Martin asking that he does not and at once we see the formation of censorship and those who receive certain letters being held to account. We see the division of a nation driven by the policy of Germany at that time. The book concludes in March 1934.

Although a slim volume, just 95 pages this book has left a lasting impression. This is certainly a classic of the 20th Century and this is most definitely a case of less is more.


  1. I read this stunning book a few years ago and loved it. I had to read it twice, to make sure I'd understood what I thought had happened. I saw a play of it too, which was equally as riveting and thought-provoking. A real gem!

    1. Likewise I read it twice to. There was a BBC Radio 4 programme dedicated to the book. I missed the original broadcast, but the various chunks of it are on YouTube
      which is just as powerful as the book.

  2. It is a wonderful book and definitely a powerful one. Loved it when i read it.

  3. Replies
    1. It is, I reserved it from the library, waited about 4 weeks for it to arrive. I read it the evening of the day I collected it. I read it again a day or so later to be sure that I had not missed anything. I had already listened to the YouTube version of the BBC play. As I said, a slim volume, with huge meaning.

  4. I will have to check this out! Great post!