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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

Berlin Stories (New York Review Books Classics)

Berlin Stories - Robert Walser, Jochen Greven, Susan Bernofsky Robert Walser was an early 20th c. Swiss writer who traveled to Berlin to live with his brother, who was a successful set designer in the theater world. This is the first English translation of his "Berlin Stories", which first appeared in lit mags and newspapers, although to call them stories is a bit of a stretch; they are sketches, observations of the streets, galleries, theaters, markets, parks and transportation systems of the city. Walser is an enthusiastic, if somewhat quirky guide through the city, and these pieces read well as verbal set pieces. They are often funny, sometimes satirical, and generally engaging, although to the modern reader they may feel a bit two-dimensional, a bit repetitive. The time period is that prior to the upheavals the Weimar Republic and so there is much optimism and joie de vivre, which can't help but leave a slightly ironic taste on the tongue, since the reader is much aware of subsequent events. One can't help but wonder what might have been if history had taken a different trajectory.