The great novel of 1920s Berlin life, in a new translation by Michael Hofmann, translator of Alone in Berlin
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…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Berlin Alexanderplatz as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Charting the interactions of various low-life characters in a stream-of-consciousness collage, tracing the city’s restless pace, Berlin Alexanderplatz, a novel by Alfred Döblin, published in 1929, mines the underbelly of the seething metropolis bursting at the seams. Considered by many to be one of the modern masterpieces of 20th-century literature, the novel follows the peregrinations of Franz Biberkopf, a pimp just out of prison, and his interactions with his erstwhile love interests and various shady associates. Döblin presents his protagonist as a kind of Everyman. I swear I encountered Biberkopf’s reincarnation in a homeless derelict crooning the German version…
Berlin is a city that is forever in the process of becoming, never being, and so lives powerfully in the imagination. Döblin's breathlessly innovative 1929 masterpiece — the most important work of literature in the Weimar years, is as hypnotic and unpredictable as the city itself.
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