From Peter's list on capturing the spirit of Berlin.
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 of Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way” at an outdoor karaoke arena.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
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 lot like fate. Cheated, humiliated, thrown from a moving car; embroiled in an underworld of pimps, thugs, drunks and prostitutes, Franz picks himself up over and over again - until one day he is struck a monstrous blow which might just prove his final downfall.
A dazzling collage of newspaper…