Star Wars Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's


Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »
  1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Flying Shoes

    Lisa Howorth 9781620403013

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$16.95
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Literature- A to Z
10 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z
5 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

More copies of this ISBN

New Directions Paperbook #1071: The Assistant

by

New Directions Paperbook #1071: The Assistant Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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."

Review:

"Swiss writer Walser (1878-1956) wrote this Kafka-esque novel in 1908. Joseph Marti, a 24-year-old clerk, comes to work and live in the home-office of inventor-entrepreneur Karl Tobler, a boor and practical incompetent. As business prospects dry up and investors lose interest, Joseph's job becomes a surreal parody of itself, his only function to send away creditors, smoke cigars and drink coffee with Tobler's wife. Yet as he awaits the inevitable financial collapse of the family, Joseph remains in thrall of Tobler, subject to nightmares about being berated while he works on, unpaid, in a thankless job that only gets more demeaning. Joseph continually writes letters, 'memoirs' and journal entries, but always tears up his writing and throws it in the trash. He remains a willing prisoner of Tobler's rages and declining fortunes, for perverse love of the household in spite of his unhappiness-the archetype of a colorless, characterless, purely functional assistant. As intended, this sly, modern-seeming novel is almost unbearable to read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The Assistant by Robert Walser—who was admired greatly by Kafka, Musil, Walter Benjamin, and W. G. Sebald—is now presented in English for the very first time.

About the Author

Robert Walser (1878-1956) worked as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor's assistant before discovering what William H. Gass calls his "true profession." From 1899 until he was misdiagnosed as a schizophrenic in 1933 and institutionalized for the rest of his life, Walser produced nine novels and more than a thousand stories.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780811215909
Author:
Walser, Robert
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Translator:
Bernofsky, Suan
Translator:
Bernofsky, Susan
Author:
Bernofsky, Susan
Subject:
General
Subject:
Clerks
Subject:
Switzerland
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Series:
New Directions Paperbook
Series Volume:
1071
Publication Date:
July 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
7 x 5 in

Other books you might like

  1. K New Trade Paper $14.50
  2. The End of Vandalism
    Sale Trade Paper $7.98
  3. Under the Skin Used Trade Paper $10.50
  4. New Directions Paperbook #1037: The... Used Trade Paper $5.50
  5. A Hatred for Tulips Used Hardcover $1.95
  6. Telegrams of the Soul: Selected... New Trade Paper $16.00

Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

New Directions Paperbook #1071: The Assistant New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811215909 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Swiss writer Walser (1878-1956) wrote this Kafka-esque novel in 1908. Joseph Marti, a 24-year-old clerk, comes to work and live in the home-office of inventor-entrepreneur Karl Tobler, a boor and practical incompetent. As business prospects dry up and investors lose interest, Joseph's job becomes a surreal parody of itself, his only function to send away creditors, smoke cigars and drink coffee with Tobler's wife. Yet as he awaits the inevitable financial collapse of the family, Joseph remains in thrall of Tobler, subject to nightmares about being berated while he works on, unpaid, in a thankless job that only gets more demeaning. Joseph continually writes letters, 'memoirs' and journal entries, but always tears up his writing and throws it in the trash. He remains a willing prisoner of Tobler's rages and declining fortunes, for perverse love of the household in spite of his unhappiness-the archetype of a colorless, characterless, purely functional assistant. As intended, this sly, modern-seeming novel is almost unbearable to read." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The Assistant by Robert Walser—who was admired greatly by Kafka, Musil, Walter Benjamin, and W. G. Sebald—is now presented in English for the very first time.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.