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Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories

Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories

Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories

By Robert Walser
Translated by Tom Whalen with Nicole Kongeter and Annette Wiesner

"Considered by contemporaries to be an inspiration for Kafka and a kindred spirit, Walser is generally lighter and more playful and very attuned to detail."—Kirkus Reviews

"Walser’s energy, curiosity and observational brilliance never flags, whether it concerns a morning walk, a playful kitten, a moment of transcendence on a terrace above the mist veiled lake of Biel, or a conversation with himself."—Will Stone, TLS

"A writer of considerable wit, talent and originality...recognized by such impressive contemporaries as Kafka, Brod, Hesse and Musil [and] primarily known to German literary scholars and to English readers lucky enough to have discovered [his work]...[Walser’s tales] are to be read slowly and savored [and] are filled with lovely and disturbing moments that will stay with the reader for some time to come."—Ronald De Feo, The New York Times

Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories brings together eighty-one brief texts spanning Robert Walser’s career, from pieces conceived amid his early triumphs to later works written at a psychiatric clinic in Bern. Many were published in the feuilleton sections of newspapers during Walser’s life; others were jotted down on slips of paper and all but forgotten. They are strung together like consciousness, idiosyncratic and vulnerable, genuine in their irony, wistful in their humor. Some dwell on childish or transient topics—carousels, the latest hairstyles, an ekphrasis of the illustrations in a picture book—others on the grand themes of nature, art, and love. But they remain conversational, almost lighter than air. Every emotion ventured takes on the weight of a sincerity that is imperiled as soon as it comes into contact with the outside world, which retains all of the novelty it had in childhood—and all of the danger.

192 pages
NYRB Classics; Main edition, 2016
5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
ISBN 9781681370163
Short Stories, Satire, Humor

$15.95 $15.95