NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES BY AUTHOR

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 5.5 x 8 in. / 192 pgs.

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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2019 p. 107   

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ISBN 9781939663467 TRADE
List Price: $15.95 CDN $24.95 GBP £13.99

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WAKEFIELD PRESS

At the Blue Monkey

33 Outlandish Stories

By Walter Serner. Introduction and translation by Erik Butler.

An English translation of Dada founder Walter Serner’s first collection of outlandish short stories

Walter Serner’s first story collection, published in German in 1921, brought to narrative form the philosophy of his earlier Dada manifesto/handbook, Last Loosening: A Handbook for the Con Artist & Those Who Wish to Be One—life is a con job and demands the skills of a swindler. With its depiction of a world of appearances in which nothing can be trusted, At the Blue Monkey helped establish the ex-doctor and renounced Dadaist as a literary “Maupaussant of crime” and offers in this first English translation 33 stories of criminals, con artists and prostitutes engaged in varieties of financial insolvency, embezzlement, sexual hijinks, long and short cons, and dalliances with venereal diseases and drugs.

Told in a baroque, sometimes baffling poetry of underworld slang in an urban world of bars and rent-a-rooms, these short tales are presented to the reader like so many three-card Montes in which readers come to realize too late that they may well themselves be the literary mark.

Walter Serner (1889–1942) helped found the Dada movement and embodied its most cynical and anarchic aspects. After breaking with the movement, he began publishing crime stories and the 1925 novel The Tigress. Moving constantly across Europe, he eventually disappeared and was rumored to have vanished into the criminal milieu he wrote about; in fact he had returned to Czechoslovakia, married and become a schoolteacher. In 1942, he and his wife presumably died after being moved from a concentration camp, his books banned and burned by the Nazis.


PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Spectrum Culture

Pat Padua

At the Blue Monkey offers pieces of a life that don’t fit together, its mystery never solved. There’s no closure to speak of, but if it raises any questions about the nature of fiction and life, its job is done.

London Review Of Books

Hal Foster

These ‘outlandish’ stories relate casual pranks and complicated grifts that are by turns comic and calamitous: some read like games of Cluedo with the players amped up on coke, while others suggest scenes pulled from a film noir, a genre they anticipate by twenty years.

At the Blue Monkey

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