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The Hustler

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A novel about the homosexual sub-culture in inter-war Berlin. A nice middle-class Berliner, age 19, falls in love with a 14 year old street hustler.
Paperback, 312 pages
Published April 3rd 2002 by Xlibris Corporation (first published February 1926)
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Nicolas Chinardet It's set in 1920s Berlin. I like its literary quality and the fact that it is also a historical document on the period and milieu it describes…moreIt's set in 1920s Berlin. I like its literary quality and the fact that it is also a historical document on the period and milieu it describes(less)
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Juan Naranjo
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs
Estoy absolutamente impactado con este libro. Tanto que me faltan palabras para expresar cuánto me ha gustado. Y, a la vez, muy contento por haber encontrado esta GRANDIOSA historia de amor de la literatura gay; y muy triste por que sea una novela perdida, desconocida, olvidada.
Estamos hablando del Berlín de justo antes de los nazis, cuando ya empiezan a intuírse. Estamos hablando de una historia de amor (explícita, hermosísima) entre un joven profesional y un pilluelo que sobrevive como puede
Nicolas Chinardet
Published in 1926, this is possibly one of the earliest novels explicitly centering a same-sex relationship, albeit one of a specific type, one as frowned-upon now as it was at the time: that of a man (Herman, 22/23, the true "hero") and a 15/16 year old boy (Gunther).

Both characters, impossibly naive and inward-looking, find themselves, over a year, on a stiff learning curve about the world and about who they are. Of course this does not end well, but certainly not as badly as could be expecte
Conflicted is my overall feeling after reading this book.
George K. Ilsley
This novel depicts the world best-known through Christopher Isherwood's Berlin stories. Indeed, it is blurbed by Isherwood, who loves the book "despite and even because of its occasional sentimental absurdities."

Published in the 1920s the book is certainly unique. However, as a novel it does drag through the middle when we get bogged down in the sentimental absurdity — Hermann falls in love and can imagine no other. Perhaps to believe this world we also have to accept how isolated and ignorant H
Alejandro Marrero
La historia de amor/obsesión/locura entre un perturbado y un desgraciado, también perturbado.

Me ha gustado la manera de contextualizar el Berlín de la época, pero la trama me ha parecido nada creíble, o al menos no me la he querido creer.
Michael Ritchie
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Historically important German novel from the 1920s. Hermann, a lonely office clerk, falls in love from afar with Gunther, a teenage hustler. Their story does not end happily, though it's not tragic, either. Hermann's feelings aren't really love as much as, as Natalia Landauer puts it in Cabaret, an infatuation of the body, and his feelings never grow beyond that. Gunther is a lost little boy who is treated badly by everyone around him, even (perhaps especially) by his so-called friends, and it's ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding book, if not for an historical perspective alone, Hubert Kennedy spent years crafting a translation from the original writings of John Henry Mackay. If you like a good love story with a tragic end, and the best ones do, this is the book for you. I would recommend it to anyone interested in queer theory or gay and lesbian history, but I'd also recommend it as a great page turner at the beach. ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Set in 1924 Berlin. What is amazing is that this was written in 1926 Berlin. The fact that the book treats a gay love story in a matter-of-fact way is pretty amazing. Since it was actually written in that period, the story is a bit quaint and I found it dragged in parts. But as a historical document, I think it's pretty invaluable. Christopher Isherwood said "It gives a picture of the Berlin sexual underworld early in this century which I know, from my own experience, to be authentic." ...more
Claire  magic
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich finde dieses buch sehr gut. Es hat einen wunderschönen schreibstil. Man merkt einfach das diese Buch von einem Dichter geschrieben wurde. Die Wörter umschmeicheln die Geschichte und man kann sich die Szenerie bildlich vorstellen. Allerdings ich weiß nicht was genau es war aber ich hatte das Gefühl das ich jemanden zuschaue wie er in Zeitlupe hinfällt
David Allen White
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sad story. Poor boy comes to Berlin, can't survive, becomes a sex worker. Paragraph 175 is in effect (it's the 1920s). ...more
Patrick Healy
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sad and rivetting, Gunther and Hermann's difficulties in turn of the century Berlin play out like a gritty Fassbinder film in this novel. Couldn't put it down- read it in a couple days after an aside in the first chapter of Alex Ross' "The Rest Is Noise." Wish that it was a bit longer is all. ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing Book! Truly just amazing!
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing story about life as a man who falls for a gay hustler in Berlin in 1926.
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John Henry Mackay (1864-1933) grew up in Germany with his German mother after the early death of his Scottish father. His long literary career included writings in a variety of forms, though he was best known as a lyric poet and anarchist. His biography of Max Stirner revived interest in that 19th century philosopher of egoism.

Also wrote under the pen name of "Sagitta"

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