At the Blue Monkey: 33 Outlandish Stories
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Walter Serner’s first story collection, published in German in 1921, brought to narrative form the philosophy of his earlier Dada manifesto – 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, it offers 33 stories in English for the first time of criminals, con artists and prostitutes engaged in levels 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.
ISBN 9781939663467. Wakefield Press.