Alfred Döblin, Bright Magic: Stories
NYRB Classics, August 2016
"Essential anthology of short works by the master of German literary expressionism... many [of these stories] seemingly seek to defy all expectation."
—Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
Alfred Döblin was a titan of modern German literature. This collection of stories--astonishingly, the first collection of his stories ever published in English--shows him to have been equally adept in shorter forms.
Included in its entirety is Döblin's first book, The Murder of a Buttercup, a work of savage brilliance and a landmark of literary expressionism. Mortality roams the streets of nineteenth-century Manhattan, with a white borzoi and a quiet smile. A ballerina duels to the death with the stupid childish body she is bound to. We experience, in the celebrated title story, a dizzying descent into a shattered mind. The collection is rounded off with two longer stories written when Döblin was in exile from Nazi Germany in Southern California, including "Traffic with the Beyond," the hilarious story of a spiritualist medium called in to investiage a murder by asking the victim himself what happened.
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