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Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories, Walser,  Robert
Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories
Robert Walser

Paperback $24.99 - The New York Review of Books, Inc
Fiction - Published: 15/Sep/2016 - ISBN: 9781681370163

Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories brings together 81 brief texts spanning Walser's career, from pieces conceived amidst his early triumphs to later works written at a psychiatric clinic in Bern. Many were published in the feuilleton sections of newspapers during Walser's life; others jotted down on slips of paper that were all but forgotten. Together they string together small nutshells of consciousness, idiosyncratic and vulnerable, genuine in their irony, wistful in their humor. The portraits and landscapes here are observed with great tenderness and from a place of great anxiety. Some dwell on childish or transient topics: carousels, the latest hair styles, an ekphrasis of the illustrations in a picture-book; others, the grand themes of nature, art, and love. But they remain conversational, almost lighter than air. Every emotion ventured takes on the weight of a sincerity that is imperiled as soon as it comes into contact with the outside world--which retains all of the novelty it had in childhood, and all of the danger.
Walser's speakers are attuned to the silent music of being; students of the ineffable and neighbors to madness, they are now exhilarated, now paralyzed by frequencies inaudible to less sensitive ears.

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