Written while Hans Keilson was in hiding during World War II, The Death of the Adversary is the self-portrait of a young man helplessly fascinated by an unnamed “adversary” whom he watches rise to power in 1930s Germany.
It is never stated outright that our narrator is Jewish, nor that his adversary is Adolf Hitler, though there can be no mistaking either fact. It shows the minutiae of fear, anger, denial and perseverance that accompany life under the shadow tyranny.
It is a tale of horror, not only in its evocation of Hitler’s gathering menace but also in its hero’s desperate attempt to discover logic where none exists. The Death of the Adversary is a lost classic of modern fiction