Book Party for Berlin Stories Feb. 2

My translation of Berlin Stories by Robert Walser was many months in the making, and now it’s out. To my delight, it immediately shot to the #1 spot on Amazon‘s German literature list and lingered there a day or two. I don’t know what its ranking on IndieBound is, since they don’t keep track that way, but of course let me encourage you, as always, to patronize an independent bookstore near you whenever possible. The book has also gotten reviewed in the New York Times already, and it’s a positive review at that, and so all signs are pointing to the crucial importance of throwing a party to celebrate these stories written a full century ago that somehow seem just as entertaining and timely now as they did then, if in different ways. Walser was quite concerned with the speed with which modern life was morphing all around him into something unfamiliar and disorienting, and it turns out that this sort of anxiety likes to loiter around the beginnings of new centuries. It’s not hard to imagine, for example, that the sudden ubiquity of electrical contraptions came as just as much of a shock to him as the sudden omnipresence of the Internet did/does to us. We like the Web, it makes our lives easier and better, but it also comes with the understanding that there is no going back to the relative innocence of pre-Twitter days, much less the days when if you needed to get somewhere the railway did not go, you would either have to impose upon the patience of a horse or walk. But enough of that. It’s time to make merry – there’s a new book to celebrate! And celebrate we shall, with (as I’m told) Riesling and pretzels and lots of fine tales, and all these delights will be simultaneously on offer at 192 Books at 192 10th Avenue at 21st Street. Seating is limited, so reservations are recommended: (212) 255-4022. The curtain rises at or shortly after 7:00 p.m.

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