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(cover by Susan Erony)
Sensation Fair: Tales of Prague by Egon Erwin Kisch (translated from the German by Guy Endore; 121,000 words)
Sensation Fair: Tales of Prague (Marktplatz der Sensationen) is the memoir of the writer who elevated journalism to the status of literature in 20th century Europe. Taking his cue from the blind Czech balladeer who sang in the courtyard of his family’s Prague apartment in the 1890s, Egon Erwin Kisch created a body of work based in fact. Kisch wrote Sensation Fair in Mexico during his exile from Nazi-occupied Europe as Stefan Zweig was writing The World of Yesterday in Brazil. Although the writers were Central European Jewish contemporaries, they could not have been more different. Sensation Fair is the memoir of a former police reporter and dedicated Communist. His rollicking, ironic, muckraking portrait of turn-of-the century Prague is a passionate argument for the value of non-fiction narrative.
“delightfully and cleverly done, with dozens of good yarns and stories in it ... He writes with a touch and a wit of his own.” — The New York Times
“Sensation Fair is brisk story and haunting picture of a youth in old Prague, journalism in the Austro-Hungarian Empire ... conspicuously varied both in substance and mood. Egon Erwin Kisch can see life and write of it with incisive concentration and romantic allusiveness, tenderness and ribaldry, humor and candor and scorn ... a lively and mellow picture, personal and not too nostalgic, of a bygone world.” — The New York Times
“One feels in the presence of this book, as in the presence of the author himself, a richness and zest that cannot be defeated in the most difficult conditions of exile ... at once considered and colloquial ... one sees reflected the buoyancy and seriousness which are equally basic to [Kisch’s] character.” — The New Masses