The Tanners and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $4.58 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Tanners has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: PLEASE READ FULL DESCRIPTION -USED GOOD- This book has been read and may show wear to the cover and or pages. There may be some dog-eared pages. In some cases the internal pages may contain highlighting/margin notes/underlining or any combination of these markings. The binding will be secure in all cases. This is a good reading and studying copy and has been verified that all pages are legible and intact. If the book contained a CD it is not guaranteed to still be included. All items are packed and shipped from the Amazon warehouse.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Tanners Paperback – August 31, 2009

3 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.37
$9.45 $4.43

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$12.37 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Tanners + The Assistant (New Directions Paperbook) + Jakob von Gunten (New York Review Books Classics)
Price for all three: $34.00

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

“It glides by like clouds escorted by sunbeams, and it leaves in its wake a series of jaw-dropping scenes.” — Scott Esposito (The Quarterly Conversation)

About the Author

Robert Walser (1878–1956) was born in Switzerland. He left school at fourteen and led a wandering and precarious existence working as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor's assistant while producing essays, stories, and novels. In 1933 he abandoned writing and entered a sanatorium―where he remained for the rest of his life. "I am not here to write," Walser said, "but to be mad."

Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.

W. G. Sebald was born in Germany in 1944 and died in 2001. He is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Unrecounted and Campo Santo.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 1 edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081121589X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811215893
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Walser (1878-1956) worked as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle, and an inventor's assistant before discovering what William H. Gass calls his "true profession." From 1899 until he was misdiagnosed as a schizophrenic in 1933 and institutionalized for the rest of his life, Walser produced nine novels and more than a thousand stories.

Customer Reviews

5 star
67%
4 star
0%
3 star
33%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Guttersnipe Das on November 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Tanners, Walser's first published novel, is perhaps the most immediately inviting -- and yet we have had to wait a century for this translation. This is the last of Walser's novels to be translated, which leads one to think it must be the bottom of the barrel somehow, like the last of Hemingway. But no, no, not at all! It's as lovely as anything Walser wrote. I can't believe my good fortune, finding this now, after re-reading the NYRB Walser Selected Stories so many times it may qualify as a personal tic.

The Tanners is the story of five siblings and focuses on Simon, who explains, "I am the youngest and the one who occasions the fewest hopes." Like every Walser protagonist, he wanders around dreaming, walking, losing jobs, renting rooms, and praising women without actually getting involved with them. He moves from misfortune to misfortune, and praises them all.

The translation, by Susan Bernofsky, reads beautifully. Masquerade, her translation of a selection of Walser's stories, is also vivid and playful and dextrous. May she translate more!

This book is full of all the strange things only Walser can do -- the peculiar storm light of mania, the special cheerfulness of extremely depressed people, the vast detached love of which they are capable. Magic is spun from the most pedestrian adjectives. So much that is dreamy, disappointing, unfathomable -- it's so nearly weightless and at the same time succeeds in catching so many extraordinary moments and feelings.

There's something so exhilarating about Walser's protagonist, an eternal zero, who never succeeds at anything -- but also never seems to fail in any way that matters. (I love the way people fail in this novel.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on October 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nobody has ever written a more light-hearted account of anxiety and anomie than Robert Walser. "Light-headed" might also describe Walser's literary personality.. light-headed in the sense of 'giddy' that is.. as well as Walser the man, whose head clearly floated lightly on his shoulders. In case you've never heard of him, Walser was born in Switzerland in 1878, one child in a large and eccentric family. He led an unsteady and flighty sort of life, working here and there as a butler, a bank clerk, a shop assistant, etc. and writing nine novels and hundreds of stories. He was 'known' to and influential on other German writers, including Kafka, but scarcely a literary success. He spent some stays in mental institutions, finally being committed permanently in 1933. He remained institutionalized (and sadly unable to write) until his death in 1956. This novel "The Tanners" is a thinly fictionalized portrayal of his early life. It's not about a bunch of leather workers; "Tanner" is the family name of five siblings, whose lives carom off each other without truly melding over the course of two years of meandering. The title in German - Die Geschwister Tanner - literally means 'The Tanner Siblings'. Simon Tanner, the central character, is unquestionably, Robert Walser's self-portrait. It's as powerful a revelation of the artist's interior being as any of Vincent van Gogh's self-portraits.

Walser flitted through life and through the sentences of his writing as lightly as a dragonfly, and yet his writing never seems aimless or parenthetical. It's "one thing after another" and yet it never seems aimless or shapeless.
Read more ›
13 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Byrd on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Within the first few pages of 'The Tanners', there is a wonderfully clever description of the oldest, and most worry-laden, of the Tanner siblings, Klaus: 'He was one of those people who feel so compelled to fulfill duties that they go plunging into great collapsing edifices constructed entirely of disagreeable duties simply out of the fear that some secret, inconspicuous duty might somehow elude them'. These lines come book-ended around the reader's introduction to the main character, the youngest of the Tanners, Simon - first with his bizarre, brazen appeal for employment and then his equally impertinent criticism of his employer as he walks off the job a month later. Taken together, it would seem that, initially at least, Walser's style is trending in a certain direction, one that is reminiscent of more contemporary novels - absurdist situations coupled with dry humor and nimble observations - and curiously self-aware for a product of 1907.

But beginning with the following chapter and on through the rest of the book, Walser nearly abandons this style. Instead, he unhitches his narrative from conventional techniques and is content to pursue any diversionary notion or thought his characters might have - from spending pages dreamily considering the emotional resonance of a forest, or fantasizing about platonic love, or the advantages of country life, or even the sights, sounds and characters of a public eating house. In fact, there really is no 'getting on with it' for the entire book - substantially, these wandering notes, this accumulation of detail that defines Walser's characters more by outline than by direct examination *is* the entire point.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Tanners
This item: The Tanners
Price: $12.37
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: classic literature, classics literature