Is it perhaps because of the content? Because for me the most startling aspect was the inescapable fact that ordinary working Germans knew exactly what the Nazis were up to in the concentration camps and approved, either tacitly or overtly.
The story is that Fallada, dying, knocked this off in 24 days. He always wrote intensely but, even so, 24 days seems an impossibility. I can imagine a draft in that time but he must have gone back and deepened the story later. On the other hand, he did die soon after. Whatever, this translation should put Fallada centrestage in 20th century European literature. I cannot wait to get my hands on more of his works.
In the US, Alone in Berlin is apparently called Every Man Dies Alone. I’m pretty sure it’s the same novel.