By Alfred Döblin
Translated by Michael Hofmann
The inspiration for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic film and that The Guardian named one of the "Top 100 Books of All Time", Berlin Alexanderplatz is considered one of the most important works of the Weimar Republic and twentieth century literature.
“[A] major writer who grappled with the roots of darkness in our time. . .”—Ernst Pawel, The New York Times
“In this new translation, the dissonant voices ring out boldly; we can tell when someone is being mimicked and wickedly sent up, enjoy the black Berlin humor. . .Döblin is never sentimental, or hysterical. He just gets us to listen to the drumbeat of violence throbbing in this city of the mind. Berlin Alexanderplatz is one of the great anti-war novels of our time.”—Joachim Redner, Australian Book Review
“It was long branded untranslatable. . .Yet a fluent, pacy new translation by Michael Hofmann gainsays that assumption, opening up the book for English-speakers. . .Something of the psychology of Weimar, the desire to touch the electric fence just to see what happens, lives on in modern societies and makes them, in their own ways, vulnerable to extremism and demagoguery. . .One lesson of Berlin Alexanderplatz is that darkness can take many forms.”—The Economist
Berlin Alexanderplatz, the great novel of Berlin and the doomed Weimar Republic, is one of the great books of the twentieth century, gruesome, farcical, and appalling, word drunk, pitch-dark. In Michael Hofmann's extraordinary new translation, Alfred Döblin's masterpiece lives in English for the first time.
Recently released from prison, cement worker Franz Biberkopf is determined to return to Berlin and set his life on the right track. He enters, however, the doomed world of the Weimar era, where opportunity is scarce and Nazism looms on the horizon.
Radical at its time for its use of slang and 'everyday' vernacular, Berlin Alexanderplatz assembles a bricolage of sounds, sensations and media to paint a vivid picture of its namesake city. Hoffmann's recent translation has won praise for rendering its difficult narrative style, which is reminiscent of Kafka's blending of first and third-person narrative.
NYRB Classics, 2018
Originally published in 1929
5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
Crime, Political Fiction