By Jakob Wassermann
Translated by Michael Hofmann
"Translator Michael Hofmann has unearthed Wassermann’s barely fictionalized and utterly modern marriage tragedy and rendered it in English as a stand-alone novel, My Marriage. It is as lush and brutal—and genuinely honest—a portrait of a relationship as I have ever come across…This is Wassermann, a chronic overwriter, at his boiled-down best. My Marriage is a story that he had been honing in his head for years. Mr. Hofmann’s perceptive translation tunes the novel for the contemporary ear, but really for all time: This is perfectly etched domestic tragedy….[Wassermann] is a master novelist."—Nathaniel Popkin, The Wall Street Journal
"My Marriage is the best (and roughest) novel I have ever read that focuses on a failed marriage...The novel’s final section, “The Age of Dissolution,” is a marvel of Bleak House-level legal disputation, a masterpiece of dead-hearted obsession, and an accidental treatise on how love and marriage disintegrate under the weight of bureaucracy...My Marriage is a masterpiece of matrimonial despair."—Jonathon Sturgeon, FlavorWire
Alexander Herzog, a young writer, goes to Vienna to escape his debts and a failed love affair. There he is pursued by book-loving Ganna: giddy, girlish, clumsy, eccentric, and wild. Dazzled and unnerved by her devotion to him, and attracted to the large dowry offered by her wealthy father, he thinks he can mold Ganna into what he wants. But no one can control her troubling passions. As their marriage starts to self-destruct, Herzog will discover that he can never escape her.
Posthumously published in 1934 and based on Wassermann's own ruinous marriage, My Marriage is a tragic masterpiece that unfolds in shocking detail. This story of rare intensity and drama is now brought to English readers in a powerful translation by Michael Hofmann.
NYRB Classics, 2016
Originally Published in 1934
5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches