I read this book about two years ago after it was recommended by a friend at university. To read this book is to have a wonderful experience in the moment. It conjures up such interesting images. It has been made into a film by the Quay Brothers. I admire the film but i do not think of it too much in relation to the book. The book will create for each reader a different set of images. I gave this book to a writer friend as a thank you after i took her course and i miss it. I need to re-read it in order to revisit the experience i had the first time. It is worth reading other works by Walser, predominantly they come far shorter than this novel. READ THIS BOOK APOLOGIES ON HOW INCOHERENT THIS REVIEW MAY SEEM
I thought I'd thoroughly explored the obscurer corners of the Amazonian books basin with the likes of Theodor Fontane and Thomas Bernhard but why am I so far off the beaten literary track here? This brilliant tale about the eponymous hero's stint at the Benjamenta Institute (a "school" for boys who will all "become something very small and subordinate later in life") is insightful and funny, a quality that other critics seemed to have missed about it. RW would be as well-known as Kafka and Sebald if pure talent was the guarantee of fame but, of course, it isn't, hence this remote outpost with only a trickle of hardy travellers passing through. Anyway, I won't witter on but I do recommend JM Coetzee's essay on RW's life and works in the NY Review of Books (easily accessible online), Sebald's poetic analysis of the author in A Place in the Country (Penguin), and you buying this marvellous book, ably translated by Christopher Middleton. So, you grew up middle class? "At home with father and mother, the whole house smelled of tact." Hah! Gotcha!