Hesperus Press was saddened to hear of the death of the great Hans Keilson last week. An accomplished writer and psychiatrist, Keilson finally received the widespread recognition he deserved at the age of 100.
One of his most significant works, Comedy in a Minor Key, tells the story of an ordinary Dutch couple during the Second World War. They have been hiding a Jewish man in their home for many months when he becomes ill and dies. Suddenly they must find a way to dispose of the corpse, leading to a black comedy that plays out against the backdrop of the darkest period in Europe’s recent past.
Comedy in a Minor Key was first published in German in 1947 but was made available to an English-speaking audience for the first time last year. It was proudly published in the UK by Hesperus Press and received rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.
‘He’s set to become a literary sensation’ – The Observer
‘This novella, with its evocation of a random universe and its surprising humour, anticipates Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd of the 1950s’ – Financial Times
‘Read these books and join me in adding him to the list … of the world’s very greatest writers.’ – The New York Times
The Observer observed late last year that ‘Hans Keilson may be the greatest novelist you’ve never heard of.’ But now that you’ve heard of him, Keilson might just be one of the greatest novelists you have ever heard of.
Hans Keilson (1909-2011)