Nobodaddy's Children

Nobodaddy's Children

By (author) , Translated by


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Early fiction of one of the most daring and influential writers of postwar Germany, a man often called the German James Joyce due to the linguistic inventiveness of his fiction.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Dalkey Archive Press
  • Normal, IL, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1564780902
  • 9781564780904
  • 536,299

Back cover copy

Nobodaddy's Children is a trilogy of novels that traces life in Germany from the Nazi era through the postwar years and into an apocalyptic future. Scenes from the Life of a Faun recounts the dreary life of a government worker who escapes the banality of war by researching the exploits of a deserter from the Napoleonic Wars nicknamed The Faun. Brand's Heath deals with the chaos of the immediate postwar period as a writer joins a small community of "survivors" to try to forge a new life, and Dark Mirrors is set in a future where civilization has been virtually destroyed. Dark Mirrors' narrator fears he may be the last man on earth until the discovery of another creates new fears. All three novels are characterized by Schmidt's unique combination of sharply observed details, sarcastic asides, and wide erudition.

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Review Text

The second volume of a courageous and welcome publishing project (encompassing the author's collected early fiction, 1949-64) offers three related novellas originally published (perhaps in afterthought) as a trilogy in 1963. They comprise - in their unique author's highly personal style of hybrid digressive montage - a hilariously confrontational picture of his native Germany from the Hitler years well on into the indefinite, postapocalyptic future. "Scenes from the Life of a Faun" (1953) presents the story of a deserter from Napoleon's army as researched by a dreamy, disgruntled citizen of the Nazi Republic (this is a revision of Woods's 1983 translation). "Brand's Heath" (1950) expresses with Beckett-like bleakness and ferocity a writer's imaginative escape from the nightmare of the recently concluded war. "Dark Mirrors" (1951) describes the psychic disintegration, and reintegration, experienced by the self-proclaimed last man on earth when he learns he is not alone. Linked by recurring images, as well as by their pessimistic eloquence, these challenging works mingle fractured narrative and overlapping dialogue, rhetorical questions and expostulations, exclamatory overpunctuation, and other stylistic devices and delusions in the manner that justifies the late (1914-79) Schmidt's deserved reputation as the German Joyce. It also makes him that rarest of rarities: an experimental writer who's actually fun to read. (Kirkus Reviews)

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