“[S]urely the Cupid serving him was lefthanded, with a weak chin and no imagination.”
~Vladimir Nabokov, Laughter in the Dark
“‘Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster.’ Thus begins Vladimir Nabokov’s Laughter in the Dark; this, the author tells us, is the whole story except that he starts from here, with his characteristic dazzling skill and irony, and brilliantly turns a fable into a chilling, original novel of folly and destruction.
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“I have seen apes only at the fair, they must perform tricks, are chained up, a bitter fate, no human has one so hard.”
~Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz
The novel concerns the story of Franz Biberkopf, an ex-convict, who balances between his past in the underworld and his wish to become decent in the 1920’s Berlin. Döblin uses montage techniques to enhance the effect of the pulsing metropolis by making use of newspaper articles, songs, speeches, and other books.
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“We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces.”
~Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
“This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I. These young men become enthusiastic soldiers, but their world of duty, culture, and progress breaks into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.
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