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Young Gerber (Pushkin Collection)
 
 

Young Gerber (Pushkin Collection) [Kindle Edition]

Friedrich Torberg , Anthea Bell , Bell Anthea
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Review

Anthea Bell's translation has a nightmarish clarity that puts one in mind of Tom Brown's Schooldays re-written by Kafka --Guardian

"A perceptive - visionary insight into the panorama of our existence" - Max Brod "[Kupfer] is magnificently conceived, with a sizzling hate that burns through the pages - For many years I have not held a book in my hands which expresses that - 'school-feeling' as memorably as here - It is a living book" --Kurt Tucholsky

More than a coming-of-age novel, this lost treasure lends insight to repressive authority. --Publishers Weekly

Product Description

Kurt Gerber embarks hopefully on his last year at school, leading to the all- important exam, but finds that he is constantly at odds with the sadistic class teacher Professor Kupfer, known to his students as “Lord God Kupfer”, who particularly dislikes him. Inspired partly by its author’s own experience of his final school-leaving examination, which he passed only at the second attempt, and partly by the suicides of no less than ten school students in a single week in the winter of 1929, Young Gerber is a timeless tale of classroom angst, and an undisputed classic of Austrian literature.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 785 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (6 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009943U9G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #271,102 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Friedrich Torberg (1908-1979) was a novelist, poet, essayist, sports journalist, critic, translator and, briefly, a Hollywood screenwriter.

Born, like Franz Kafka, into a German-speaking Jewish family, Torberg began his career in Vienna and Prague (where he also became a champion water polo player). In 1938, facing Nazi persecution, he emigrated to France and eventually to the US. Following a spell in Hollywood with Bertold Brecht and Thomas Mann, Friedrich Torberg worked as a journalist, theatre critic and translator in New York before returning to Vienna in 1951.

Having passed his final-year school exam only at the second attempt, Torberg wrote his debut novel Young Gerber (Der Schüler Gerber) at the startling age of 22; it marked his fiction debut, and was championed by Max Brod and published by Paul Zsolnay in 1930.

From 1951 until his death in 1979, he lived as a celebrated novelist, editor of the anti-communist magazine FORVM and translator (of Ephraim Kishon amongst others). Later works by Torberg include the novels Aunt Jolesch (Tante Jolesch), The Team (Die Mannschaft), Vienna Was that, Too (Auch das War Wien, filmed by Wolfgang Glück in 1986 and nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film), as well as poetry and non-fiction. When he died, he was buried alongside Arthur Schnitzler in Vienna's Central Cemetery.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Young Gerber is a very welcome English translation of a novel by Austrian writer Freidrich Torberg (1908-1979). It is a substantial book of 350 pages or so but concerns a relatively small period of time and focuses on just one event, the matura, or graduation exam which all grammar school students must pass before they go on to university.

The matura consists of a set of written papers and those who survive those with a "pass" move on to the oral examination. This takes place before a panel of four professors who present the student with a set of questions of ferocious difficulty and see how he or she deals with them.

Kurt Gerber is an intelligent student but lacks application to his studies. He is in love with class-mate Lisa, a wealthy young woman with a rich social life - and more interest in the men she meets in expensive hotels while on holiday with her parents than in her fellow students.

Kurt has managed to form a sort of liaison with Lisa but she always seems to have other men in tow and it is always so difficult to see her socially. Also, it is now the start of the final year of school and he must face up to the ordeal of the matura, in which he will be tested in the subject he finds most difficult - mathematics, as well as difficult questions in Latin, German literature, history and geography.

The book opens at the start of the school year. The class of students do not yet know who their form teacher is going to be and they debate the possible options. Suddenly one of the students calls out, "Here comes God Almighty Kupfer!" and their worst fears are realised. Kupfer was a captain in the war and has all the characteristics of an ex-officer, being militaristic, demanding, intolerant of laziness or inattention and unapproachable.
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