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Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist (New York Review Books Classics) by [Kastner, Erich]
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Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist (New York Review Books Classics) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 209 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'Kastner's stylishly wanton satire, the literary equivalent of an Otto Dix painting, articulates the frenetic hope and despair with whimsical panache.'

(Irish Times)

'Kastner balances comedy, the music hall and the grim facts of one man's life in a wonderful novel that not only recalls 1920s Berlin, bringing Dix and Grosz to life, but also shines a spotlight on today."

(Irish Times)

About the Author

ERICH KÄSTNER (1899-1974) was born in Dresden. His first book of poems was published in 1928, as was the children's book Emil and the Detectives, which quickly achieved worldwide fame. Going to the Dogs appeared in 1931 and was followed by many other works for adults and children, including Lottie and Lisa, the basis for the popular Disney film The Parent Trap.
RODNEY LIVINGSTONE is a professor emeritus in German Studies at the University of Southampton. In 2009 he was awarded the Ungar German Translation Prize of the American Translators' Association for his translation of Detlev Claussen's Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius.
CYRUS BROOKS was a writer of detective stories and a translator of other books by Kästner as well as by Alfred Neumann, Leonhard Frank, and others.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 605 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; Main edition (6 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009QJMFGI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,466 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book very interesting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not read the Introduction first 9 Nov. 2013
By Antonio Vives - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a lot more than a tale of the decadence of the time. The story of Fabian is fascinating with his internal contradictions, provoked by the mores of the time, but a moralist at heart. Engrossing story. You get to live it with him.

Only one piece of advice, do not read the Introduction by Rodney Livingstone before reading the novel, it spoils the drama. After all he wrote it after reading the novel, so we should also read it afterwards. Ir will even be more illustrative, as you can contrast your impressions with his.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart 19 May 2013
By Curious - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A unique voice calls back to us from the pages of this work. The novel is rather short, which is a good thing here. The flavor of the time being brought forth with vinegar. Many would say that the work was 'a downer', but this is to a great extent the general aura of much of Central Europe in the period between the World Wars. The situation of Vienna may have been more somber, as reflected by such works as Stephen Zweig's Postal Girl. Berlin had a bit more rebellious spirit, with futile attempts at exultation. Such attempts make the situation ultimately that much more gloomy as seen in works of Doblin and Kastner here and are seen from without in Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories.
Not everybody wants to take the trip through such lugubrious environs.
For those who do, this work will be rewarding.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling View of Weimar Berlin 29 Nov. 2012
By garwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Erich Kastner (1899-1974) is perhaps best known for his children's books, especially the much translated, `Emil and The Detectives'; and through film adaptations of `Lottie and Lisa', the source of Walt Disney's, `The Parent Trap'.

However in `Going to the Dogs' (published as `Fabian', in 1931), Kastner probes the hopelessness, intrigue, and degeneration of Weimar Germany.

Most vivid here is that particular Weimar sense of purposelessness and restlessness which generated (in many) an intense, desperate, seeking. The German concept `sehnsucht' (lit. yearning-addiction), comes to mind. One clearly feels the frustrated longing for what isn't, and perhaps what can not be.

After defeat in 1918, Germany plunged into turmoil which didn't end until Hitler. People were adrift: authority, institutions, and cultural norms lost their force. Dire economic circumstances contributed to a breakdown of structures, engendering vast social and cultural disintegration.

Setting aside its disastrous ending, some very fine art, music, and literature arose (Kurt Weil comes to mind), of which Kastner's work is an important part. Although this novel is little known, it is very much worth reading, especially with (and for) an historical awareness.

One could argue `Going to the Dogs' is not truly a novel, but a series of set pieces, episodes tied together by its protagonist, Jacob Fabian, (likely, in part, Kastner himself), and the city of Berlin. Its best read not for plot, or even character, but for the vital sense of time, place, and milieu it conveys - along with its timeless depictions of flawed human nature.

We meet hypocritical newspaper editors, prostitutes (male and female), naive activists, opportunists, politically enraged drunks shooting pistols, a detached father and absent mother, a depraved husband, a malignantly jealous academic - all in an atmosphere of abundant alcohol and hyper-charged sexuality.

Yet Fabian is not as unaware, or lost (or detached) as he may first seem. Largely, he's a sympathetic character: decent, and oddly enough, a somewhat conservative moralist whom we understand even better now, knowing what was to come.

No, Kastner is not as charming as Zweig, or as polished as Joseph Roth, or as psychologically astute as Schnitzler, but he does provide a unique and invaluable insight, conveyed with a Viennese intensity: a significant of-the-period view of Weimar Berlin, a place where, "Life is a chance, death is a certainty."

*********

Three final points:

The cover art (Christian Schad's `Self Portrait With Model', 1927) is intriguing (note the title block obscures the woman's breast - an unintentional allusion to the censorship of the original edition?) And although we might visualize Fabian as looking like Schad, the grittier art of either Otto Dix of George Grosz might have been more fitting.

Also, a book this important could use a fresh translation as this British-English rendition is at times clumsy. Anthea Bell`s recent translations of Stefan Zweig are light, engaging, and models of clarity: NYRB should have used her talents here as well.

Finally, Rodney Livingstone's introduction is thoughtful and informative, but as is all too common in NYRB titles, its too revealing and should be read as an afterward.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars decadent and brilliant 25 Nov. 2012
By eileen Aboulafia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this book left me with a sense of voyeuristic decadence and fear. Our young and ambitious college graduates are not able to practice their skills ,our country is sinking into mediocrity and financial ruin and prejudice is increasing every day.For our hero
providence ,in the end, solves his dilemma .Depressing!! deja vu all over again
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay. 14 Aug. 2015
By CallMeL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a textbook,
Weird book, I might have liked it more if it wasn't for class.
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