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Masquerade and Other Stories


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As William Gass points out in the forward, Walser was a post-modernist dating back to the first quarter of the century. He loved his food, his beer, and his freedom to ramble in both the Swiss and German countryside and in his own prose, as he does in these 64 short pieces. The ``stories'' border on essay, on musing, on fantasy, on dreamscape, taking on subjects ranging from ladies' gloves to the gory slaughter of a medieval battle to his own storytelling; and if the narrative doesn't always provide story enough, Walser is often pleasurable in his wit, his outsider's vision, and his uplifting and irreverent good nature. His warm gaiety will not be enough for everyone, but as Hermann Hesse observed of Walser, ``If he had a hundred thousand readers, the world would be a better place.''-- Peter Bricklebank, City Coll., CUNY

This newly translated collection draws upon [Walser's] writing in Zurich, Berlin, Bern and elsewhere between 1899 and 1933. Reading the pieces, the artistry of a contemporary Swiss observer, Paul Klee, comes to mind. Walser's persona and vague human sketches and Klee's whimsical and fantastic images seem kin. New York Times

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