The great novel of 1920s Berlin life, in a superb new translation by Michael Hofmann
Franz Biberkopf is back on the streets of Berlin. Determined to go straight after a stint in prison, he finds himself thwarted by an unpredictable external agency that looks an awful lot like fate. Cheated, humiliated, thrown from a moving car; embroiled in an underworld of pimps, thugs, drunks and prostitutes, Franz picks himself up over and over again - until one day he is struck a monstrous blow which might just prove his final downfall.
A dazzling collage of newspaper reports, Biblical stories, drinking songs and urban slang, Berlin Alexanderplatz is the great novel of Berlin life: inventing, styling and recreating the city as reality and dream; mimicking its movements and rhythms; immortalizing its pubs, abattoirs, apartments and chaotic streets. From the gutter to the stars, this is the whole picture of the city.
Berlin Alexanderplatz brought fame in 1929 to its author Alfred Doeblin, until then an impecunious writer and doctor in a working-class neighbourhood in the east of Berlin. Success at home was short-lived, however; Doblin, a Jew, left Germany the day after the Reichstag Fire in 1933, and did not return until 1945. This landmark translation by Michael Hofmann is the first to do justice to Berlin Alexanderplatz in English, brilliantly capturing the energy, prodigality and inventiveness of Doeblin's masterpiece.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 348 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 27 mm
Ace translator Michael Hofmann has delivered an exhilarating new version of Alfred Doeblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz: that street-smart, slang-filled, richly allusive tale of crime, punishment and social crisis in the capital of Weimar Germany just before Hitler's rise to power. Hofmann's firecracker prose fizzes through this revolutionary trip into the lower depths of big-city life -- Boyd Tonkin
The classic Weimar novel ... Long branded untranslatable, a fluent, pacy new translation by Michael Hofmann gainsays that assumption, opening up the book for English-speakers * Economist *
Reading it was the most wonderful experience -- Deborah Moggach * Saturday Review *
Franz Biberkopf is one of the modern world's richest literary characters, as memorable as Woyzeck, Oblomov or Madame Bovary * New York Review of Books *
Berlin Alexanderplatz is Europe's Moby-Dick ... both seriously significant and a great deal of fun -- John Self
A flashing kaleidoscope of a novel ... Michael Hofmann's translation has a vivid immediacy * Country & Town House *
Brutal and prophetic ... a turning point in the history of the German novel * The Times *
Berlin Alexanderplatz, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, still fascinates as a cautionary tale by shining light on the most obscure parts of the human soul. -- Tobias Grey * Wall Street Journal *
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