Balzacs Horse and Strs

Gert Hofmann, Author, Christopher Middleton, Translator, Christopher Middleton, Photographer Fromm International $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-88064-074-9
The longest of these stories read like excerpts from works in progress; the shortest are not much more than sketches. Yet Hofmann, one of Germany's most respected postwar authors, addresses philosophical questions often ignored by his American contemporaries. What is reality? What is the purpose of art? Of life? The title story consists of a running dialogue between Balzac and Brissot, the inspector of the cloacas (sewers) of Paris, on the nature of the theater. Balzac's detailed lament about the arduous process of getting a play produced is topped in a macabre twist by Brissot as he describes a spectacular, real-life drama that occurs in the Parisian sewers. In ""Casanova and the Extra,'' an aging philanderer meets up with a woman who is (probably) his mother, and the thin link between reality and fantasy is crossed. In ``Arno,'' a failed writer lives vicariously through his neighbor, a decrepit, once-famous poet. This collection of seven stories should be viewed as a companion piece to such distinguished novels as Our Conquest and The Parable of the Blind. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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