Assistant by Robert Walser
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By Robert Walser

The Assistant

By (author) See other recent books by Robert Walser
Translated by Susan Bernofsky See other recent books by Susan Bernofsky
Format: Paperback

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Assistant by Robert Walser

Book Description

Robert Walser is an overwhelmingly original author with many ardent fans: J.M. Coetzee ("dazzling"), Guy Davenport ("a very special kind of whimsical-serious-deep writer"), and Hermann Hesse ("If he had a hundred thousand readers, the world would be a better place"). Charged with compassion, and an utterly unique radiance of vision, Walser is as Susan Sontag exclaimed "a truly wonderful, heart-breaking writer." The Assistant is his breathtaking 1908 novel, translated by award-winning translator Susan Bernofsky. Joseph, hired to become an inventor's new assistant, arrives one rainy Monday morning at Technical Engineer Karl Tobler's splendid hilltop villa: he is at once pleased and terribly worried, a state soon followed by even stickier psychological complexities. He enjoys the beautiful view over Lake Zurich, in the company of the proud wife, Frau Tobler, and the delicious savory meals. But does he deserve any of these pleasures? The Assistant chronicles Joseph's inner life of cascading emotions as he attempts, both frantically and light-heartedly, to help the Tobler household, even as it slides toward financial ruin. Tobler demands of Joseph, "Do you have your wits about you?!" And Joseph's wits are in fact all around him, trembling like leaves in the breeze-he is full of exuberance and despair, all the raptures and panics of a person "drowning in obedience."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780811215909
ISBN-10: 0811215903
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 129mm x 20mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date: 3-Jul-2007
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Robert Walser

Looking at Pictures by Robert Walser Looking at Pictures, Hardback (November 2015)

A special side of Robert Walser: his essays on art

Thomas Schutte by Robert Walser Thomas Schutte, Hardback (June 2015)

A personal exploration of our everyday selves, choreographed by one of the greatest living artists. This book is dedicated by the artist to the gallerist Donald Young, who invited the artist to participate in an exhibition dedicated to Walser in Chicago in 2012.

Fairy Tales by Robert Walser Fairy Tales, Paperback (May 2015)

Three mini-plays by the German wunderkind and asylum-dweller.

Running with the Devil by Robert Walser Running with the Devil, Paperback (November 2014)

A comprehensive musical, social, and cultural analysis of heavy metal music, with a new foreword and afterword

» View all books by Robert Walser


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Author Biography - Robert Walser

Robert Walser (1878-1956) was born in Switzerland. He left school at fourteen and led a wandering and precarious existence working as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor's assistant while producing essays, stories, and novels. In 1933 he abandoned writing and entered a sanatorium-where he remained for the rest of his life. "I am not here to write," Walser said, "but to be mad." Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.

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