A Small Circus

A Small Circus

Hardback

By (author) Hans Fallada

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Paperback $14.22
  • Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • Format: Hardback | 608 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 236mm x 38mm | 998g
  • Publication date: 2 February 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141196556
  • ISBN 13: 9780141196558
  • Sales rank: 198,076

Product description

It is summer, 1929, and in a small German town a storm is brewing. The shabby reporter Tredup leads a precarious existence working for the Pomeranian Chronicle - until he takes some photographs that offer the chance to make a fortune. In Kruger's bar, the farmers are plotting their revenge on greedy officials. A mysterious travelling salesman from Berlin, Henning, is stirring up trouble - but no one knows why. Meanwhile the Nazis grow stronger and the Communists fight them in the streets. And at the centre of it all, the Mayor, 'Fatty' Gareis, seeks the easy life even as events spiral beyond his control. As tensions erupt between workers and bosses, town and country, Left and Right, alliances are broken, bribes are taken and plots are hatched, until the tension spills over into violence. Hans Fallada's raw, darkly humorous account of a town rife with corruption, greed and brutality, first published in 1931, was written as Weimar Germany collapsed around him. It is an extraordinary novel about the failure of governments and the failings of people. Michael Hofmann's brilliant, colloquial translation brings this work of intrigue and foreboding to English readers for the first time.

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Author information

Hans Fallada was one of the best-known German writers of the twentieth century. Born on 21 July 1893 in Greifswald as Rudolf Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen, he took his pen name from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. His most famous works include the novels Little Man, What Now?, The Drinker and the bestselling Alone in Berlin. Fallada died from an overdose of morphine on 5 February 1947 in Berlin. Michael Hofmann is the author of several books of poems and a book of criticism, Behind the Lines, and the translator of many modern and contemporary authors. Penguin publish his translations of Fallada's Alone in Berlin and Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism, Kafka's Amerika and Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Ernst Junger's Storm of Steel and Irmgard Keun's Child of All Nations.

Review quote

Uncommonly vivid and original -- Robert Musil Real love and real humanity -- Hermann Hesse The best account of small-town Germany ... so terribly genuine, it is frightening -- Kurt Tucholsky This novel's genius ... lies in Fallada's ability to reveal ... as well as to analyse the macabre game of musical chairs that was the Weimar Republic. Fallada gives us front-row seats to Germany's decade-long quest for a sacrificial scapegoat that culminated in the Nazi takeover. ... Two years after Alone in Berlin's runaway success, A Small Circus continues the Fallada revival that owes so much to the efforts of its translator, the poet Michael Hofmann -- Andre Naffis-Sahely Independent Fallada creates characters with Dickensian prodigality, each yokel, hack, pig and pen-pusher brought to life in Michael Hofmann's beautifully judged translation ... a generous, life-affirming treat -- Jake Kerridge Telegraph Michael Hofmann ... comes as close as possible to giving us Fallada's work in all its coarse, humorous, immediate, tragic glory -- Charlotte Moore Spectator Not for the first time, all praise is due to Michael Hofmann's art and feel for nuance. His translation catches the many voices - some exasperated, others bewildered, a few downright angry - that make this bold, exuberant and candid narrative sizzle with life and the relentlessly shocking reality of it all Irish Times Fallada's own experiences as a regional journalist in north Germany underlie the action, and it is this sense of realism, combined with an ear for dialogue and an acute understanding of human frailty, that make the novel such an authentic portrayal of an imploding era -- Ben Hutchinson Observer