Berlin, Alexanderplatz – the novel

28 09 2007

Berlin Alexanderplatz is a novel by Alfred Döblin, published in 1929. It is a story about a small time criminal, Franz Biberkopf, who at the beginning of the book had just got out of prison, his struggle to become a good rehabilitated citizen, and his road back to the underworld. It is situated in the Alexanderplatz district, which was a working class district in 1920s Berlin. It’s really a wonderful book, that besides telling a captivating story, also gives you a very tangible feeling of the time and place.

Döblin was a German expressionist writer. His father, who abandoned the family when Döblin was 10, was Jewish, and he held leftist political views, so when the Nazis came to power, he lived in exile in France, and then in the USA, like many other German intellectuals and writers.

The novel was adapted twice into a movie. The first time was in 1931. The author himself worked on the adaptation, and it was directed by Piel Jutzi. It was 85 minutes long. The second time was in 1980, when Rainer Werner Fassbinder (quite an fascinating character) adapted it to a 15 and a half hours long film. Yes, 15 and a half hours. You read right.

Anyway, I really loved the book, and think it’s very worth reading. If you wish, you can purchase it on Amazon. Just click on the picture to do so.

Belin, Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin


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