Martin Kessel: Mr Brecher's Fiasco

Kleist Award
Georg Büchner Award
Fontane Award
Literature Award of the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts

Martin Kessel
Mr Brecher's Fiasco

With an epilogue by the author.


English sample translation (pdf)

There have been many ›Berlinromane‹, novels about the urban heart of Germany. Alfred Döblin captured it best, most famously in his classic, Berlin Alexanderplatz, but HERRN BRECHERS FIASKO is also one of the most important examples of the genre, and one of the most impressive documents describing the spirit of 1920s Berlin.

Infused with the spirit of 1920s Berlin, HERRN BRECHERS FIASKO is one of the great modern novels about the urban heart of Germany. It was a time of hope and hyperinflation, sexual liberation and repression, industrialization and unemployment, and constant political instability – with the shadow of fascism looming ever larger. Kessel’s novel draws upon the major intellectual and social issues of Weimar Germany and is a satire of the Berlin workplace and the white-collar workers of the city’s mushrooming bureaucracy.

»Kessel's scenes are strikingly modern. Many of the characters’ actions, complaints, and frustrations could easily come from a present-day office novel. The scenes at the office masterfully illustrate the pettiness, the numbing monotony, the often surprising discoveries - and also the many regrets.An unusual and challenging but very worthwhile (re)discovery.«
Complete Review / University of Wisconsin Press

Rights sold

The Netherlands - Overamstel / Lebowski

previously published (rights reverted)

US (English World) - University of Wisconsin Press
Spain (Castilian World) - El Acantilado
paperback – Piper
book club – Büchergilde Gutenberg

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»Great precision and art. Kessel’s masterpiece.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»This novel, which pulls the whole of human comedy through the needle's eye of an employee's everyday life, not only is one of the great literary works of the 20th Century and a major contribution to the ›psychology of the city‹ and there in line with Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz, but also a project of disillusionment eerily relevant today.«
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»The sensational discovery!«

»In its analytical power and its linguistic capability to illuminate, this book surpasses everything written in the Weimar Republic about the world of the employee.«
Süddeutsche Zeitung

»A stroke of luck.«

»Kessel’s period novel from the early thirties is remarkably timeless.«
Der Tagesspiegel

»Martin Kessel’s HERRN BRECHERS FIASKO is a major novel, and the time is ripe for it.«
Frankfurter Neue Presse

»The novel is a literary sensation, as explosive today as in 1932.«
Bayerisches Fernsehen

»One of the most important urban novels of the century.«

»An untimely book, absolutely great.«
Lübecker Nachrichten

»The extraordinary status of the novel was recognised when it was first published in 1932. With the rise of National Socialism, as a book that describes Germany as ›a land of post office officials, head waiters and dutiful citizens‹, as ›the land of Venus with a sewing machine, the land of superhuman achievement‹, it was prevented from reaching a wider audience.«
Frankfurter Rundschau

»Martin Kessel has without doubt written a significant Berlin novel, that can claim its literary originality beside Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz
Mannheimer Morgen

»The re-discovery of a masterpiece.«
Bergsträßer Anzeiger

»Brilliant in a unique way.«
Nürnberger Nachrichten

»A terrific compendium, jam-packed with sounds, noises, pictures and moments.«

»A major, marvelous novel.«
Complete Review

More titles by Martin Kessel

Martin Kessel: Lydia FaudeMartin Kessel: Don Quijote‘s Sister – An Intimate Novel