cover image Thomas Mann: New Selected Stories

Thomas Mann: New Selected Stories

Thomas Mann, trans. from the German by Damion Searls. Liveright, $30 hardcover (256p) ISBN 978-1-63149-848-0

Searls infuses the prose of Nobel laureate Mann (1875–1955) with momentum and energy in this excellent collection. English-language readers will find the humor and digressive appeal of Mann’s prose enhanced in modern classics such as “Chaotic World and Childhood Sorrow,” in which teen siblings mock their parents by calling them “the Elders” and a little girl named Lorrie sobs over her older crush, an engineering student named Max, while not yet understanding romantic love: “why...isn’t... Max . . . my brother? Max . . . should be . . . my brother.” Aschenbach, the 50-something author at the center Death in Venice, rationalizes his obsession with “beautiful boy” Tadzio, whom he meets at his island hotel, with comparisons to Greek heroes. A well-chosen excerpt from the novel Confessions of a Con Artist, by Felix Krull exhibits a connection between the title character, a peripatetic young man, and Mann’s other protagonists: “What a royal gift the imagination is, and what pleasure it affords us!” Felix narrates. Throughout, the characters are linked by their unspeakable desires, and their inner worlds are just as significant as, and often more so than, their actions. Scholars as well as those new to Mann will find much to appreciate in Searls’s stimulating approach. (Feb.)