34 pages 1 hour read

Kathrine Kressmann Taylor

Address Unknown

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1938

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Story Analysis

Analysis: Address Unknown

Address Unknown begins as a series of warm, friendly letters between two men who have known each other for a long time. Max and Martin moved to America in the period following World War I. With Germany in economic turmoil, they built a successful art business in San Francisco. The letters contain hints of the warmth of their friendship, especially when discussing their business. Max also hints at his less than scrupulous attitude, describing how he is content to sell bad art to wealthy old women because there will always be someone willing to do so. This, he says, is one of life’s “necessities.” To the two men, this unscrupulous business mindset is a harmless joke, something that illustrates the breadth and depth of their friendship.

Max attributes Martin’s return to Germany to his failure to integrate culturally in America. Max suggests that Martin has “never become American” despite spending years in the country (5). Despite his success, Martin craves a sense of belonging. He feels like an outsider in America, whereas Max is able to settle with relative ease. The contrasting experiences of these Germen men in the United States hint at the problems experienced by Jewish people in Germany before this time.