Blood Brothers (Paperback)

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By Ernst Haffner, Michael Hofmann (Translator)
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Staff Reviews

Despite the little we know about Ernst Haffner, it's clear to me from reading BLOOD BROTHERS that he was a brave and compassionate man, as well as a talented author. His novel is a stark, realist masterpiece of 1930s Berlin streetlife that also contains nightmarish elements of German Expressionism and features bureaucracies as strange and labyrinthine as anything Kafka ever conceived. Yet, what comes through the most is Haffner's supreme empathy for these lost boys, his desire to point out their plight. BLOOD BROTHERS is literature of social importance. It is a clarion call on par with THE JUNGLE--art meant to enact change for the greater good. Perhaps, in its time, it was too successful at this aim. Otherwise, why would the Nazis go to the trouble to burn it?

— From Blood Brothers (Ernest Haffner)


Originally published in 1932 and banned by the Nazis one year later, Blood Brothers follows a gang of young boys bound together by unwritten rules and mutual loyalty.

Blood Brothers
is the only known novel by German social worker and journalist Ernst Haffner, of whom nearly all traces were lost during the course of World War II. Told in stark, unsparing detail, Haffner's story delves into the illicit underworld of Berlin on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, describing how these blood brothers move from one petty crime to the next, spending their nights in underground bars and makeshift hostels, struggling together to survive the harsh realities of gang life, and finding in one another the legitimacy denied them by society.

About the Author

Ernst Haffner was a journalist and social worker and his only known novel, Blood Brothers, was published to wide acclaim in 1932 before it was banned by the Nazis one year later. In the 1940s, all records of Haffner disappeared. His fate during World War II remains unknown. Michael Hofmann has translated the work of Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Hans Fallada, and many others. In 2012 he was awarded the Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of several books of poems and essays, including Where Have You Been? (2014). He lives in Florida and London.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781590517048
ISBN-10: 1590517040
Publisher: Other Press (NY)
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Pages: 192
Language: English