Paperback review: Going to the Dogs, The Story of a Moralist, By Erick Kastner

 

It's easy to see why Erick Kastner's 1936 novel is being reissued now: his focus on a pre-Nazi Germany, in the grip of recession, where over-educated white-collar workers are struggling not to return to the impoverished states of their working-class parents, has something to say about our present times.

Kastner viewed his account of Fabian, the disillusioned Berlin copywriter, unable to throw himself into the decadence the city has to offer when all he can see is people prostituting themselves around him, as a warning of what was surely to come. ("When would the next war break out? When would things reach that point again?") Fabian is not a cynic but an idealist, capable of acts of heroism, who despairs when his girlfriend sells herself to a movie producer. There is only one end for him.

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