Robert Walser: Der Gehülfe (The Assistant)

The latest addition to my website is Robert Walser‘s Der Gehülfe (The Assistant). This is the second book published by Walser (the third he wrote) and is based on his own experiences. The story involves Joseph Marti, a self-critical, somewhat absent-minded young man, who goes to work for Carl Tobler, an inventor. He lives in the house with Tobler, his wife and four children. Tobler has several inventions, such as the Advertising Clock but, unfortunately for him, no-one seems interested either in investing in them or buying them. He gradually runs up debts, which he declines to pay, leaving Joseph spending at least part of his job fending off debt collectors. Joseph, meanwhile, drifts through life and his job, unpaid but often unconcerned. It is enjoyable book though not Walser’s best.

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