This is the third in a four volume edition of the early fiction of one of the most daring and influential writers of postwar Germany. Gathered here are all of the short stories that Arno Schmidt wished to preserve. They are grouped under three headings: the first two, Tales from Island Street and Sturenburg Stories, are a perfect spot to test Schmidtian waters, to hear the voice of a master storyteller. Twenty-five short tales written for a wide audience, they all share an eerie whimsy. It is as if Schmidt’s beloved German Romantics were here with new stories for the modern reader.
And then there is Country Matters, longer, more experimental stories written for the adventurous reader. Joyce and Freud are constant inspirations, but Schmidt’s unique brand of intellectual ribaldry, shot through with the pain of our common humanity, enlivens all ten stories.
Of the thirty-five stories in this volume, only two have previously appeared in English translation. Ranging from Schmidt at his most inviting and whimsical to Schmidt at his most cerebral and complex, the stories are a perfect introduction to his work.