Address Unknown

Ecco: HarperCollins. Jun. 2021. 96p. ISBN 9780063068490. pap. $16.99. F
A sensation when it first appeared in 1938, Taylor’s powerful story alerted a complacent, isolationist United States to the rising Nazi menace (alas, too late), all in the guise of a grimly satisfying thriller, easily digested over a lunch hour. Through a sequence of letters starting in 1932 between Max Eisenstein, a Jewish art dealer in San Francisco, and his business partner Martin Schulse, newly repatriated to his native Munich, we witness with alarming immediacy the insidious progress of fascist ideology. Reluctant at first (“Is he quite sane?”), Martin soon falls under the resistless, dehumanizing sway of Germany’s “Glorious Leader,” opening a perilous chasm between the friends. With masterful economy, Taylor (1903–96) uses the silences between letters to disturbing and ultimately devastating effect.
VERDICT At perhaps no time since its initial publication has this stunning evocation of extremism and intolerance felt more chilling. As the foreword to the 1938 edition suggested, this story deserves a permanent place on the country’s bookshelf.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing