A minipost for a ministory. Although Kressman Taylor’s Address Unknown appears by itself here in this edition by Souvenir Press, it’s very short, and more usually appears as part of a collection. It’s an epistolary short story (calling it a novella would be generous, I think) composed of the letters exchanged between two German friends between 1932 and 1934. Jewish Max and non-Jewish Martin ran a successful gallery together in America. Martin returns to poverty-stricken interbellum Germany where he can live a life of luxury from his gallery earnings, and the two strive to continue their friendship by post.
This quickly becomes more difficult when Martin is swept up by national socialism and enchanted by the transformative promise of the charismatic firebrand at its head. The vile racism that spells the end of their friendship is deeply saddening and ultimately leads to a terrible tragedy that irrevocably invokes Max’s enmity. The manner of his revenge is ingenious and entirely perfect given the format of the story.
It took maybe 30 minutes to read, deals with an important historical/cultural phenomenon, is a wonderful example of a relatively unusual format, and has a gripping, emotional and clever plot. Recommended.