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The Other Side

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,367 ratings  ·  154 reviews
The Other Side tells of a dream kingdom which becomes a nightmare, of a journey to Perle, a mysterious city created deep in Asia, which is also a journey to the depths of the subconscious. Or as Kubin himself called it, 'a sort of Baedeker for those lands which are half known to us'.

Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) was one of the major graphic artists of the 20th century who was w
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 27th 2000 by Dedalus (first published 1909)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,367 ratings  ·  154 reviews

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May 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: brown grass both sides
Recommended to Mariel by: spinning in the shadows of immoral magnets
I don't know if I really liked this or not. It pretty much bored me to the backs of my eyeballs and then showed me what those dangly nerves looked like in my pasty white hand. I started reading The Other Side weeks ago. Forcing myself to finish reading it today pretty much made me want to cry in a violent revolt. Mariel people rise up against their oppressors! We mental people come from all corners of this wide mental land in peace. Please, it shouldn't be this hard. That's what the spokesperson ...more
Vit Babenco
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Other Side is a gloomily satirical novel showing some fine rudiments of absurdism and it is a kind of a mystical dystopia. E.T.A. Hoffmann and Gustav Meyrink are obvious influences on Alfred Kubin’s juicy style and the book is written in the very picturesque and highly imaginative manner.
We are all wanderers, all of us without exception. It has been so as long as there have been people, and so it will remain. From the earliest nomads to the most modern tourist, from rape and pillage
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ideas
A man in his thirties, married, an artist, receives a strange offer: an invitation from a former school friend who has become miraculously wealthy to emigrate to the far-off city he has purchased and now rules. A job is promised, interim funding provided.

I'm pretty sure this was an allegory about... something. Religion? Human weakness?
The editor suggests it is a satire of Utopianism.

The Dreamland is pretty nightmarish. Literally, not just hyperbolically.

The prose isn't brilliant but Kubin is ex
Susan Budd
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Imagine sniffing a quart of milk, thinking it smells kind of funky, and then downing the whole thing anyway. That was me reading Alfred Kubin’s The Other Side.

This is not a well-told tale, but I was willing to overlook that because I thought it would be worth reading for the dream imagery alone. Boy was I wrong.

The first half of the book was not entirely without merit. Kubin does create a dream atmosphere. A place of perpetual twilight, drab colors, sudden turns of fortune at which no one bats
Nancy Oakes
Imagine this: one very ordinary day, you're sitting at home and suddenly a man appears at your door with a proposal that, should you accept, will change your life completely. That's exactly how this very disturbing novel begins. How it ends I won't say, but imagine any dream you've ever had that starts out being sort of quirky and then rapidly devolves into a nightmare from which you struggle to awaken, and that describes this novel in a nutshell. Sort of. I will tell you that this book disturbe ...more
Yórgos St.
Absurd, grotesque and macabre, funny and utterly surreal, nightmarish, Kafkaesque before Kafka. The Other Side is the neglected masterpiece of symbolism and decadent literature and Alfred Kubin was the epitome of the Artist. The themes of the book are many and universal but sometimes the symbolism is hard to pin down. Sometimes I thought that I was reading a satire on capitalism or a study on ethics. Other times I had this strange idea that I had before me a visionary text proclaiming WWI. I kep ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
Surrealistic nightmare?

Satire on capitalism?

Study of the subconscious mind?

Damned if I know.

A man receives a "summons"

"Claus Patera, Absolute Lord of the Dream Kingdom, charges me as his agent to present you with an invitation to come and live in his country

Patera, a former classmate came into a vast sum of money while in Asia and has created a walled city/kingdom over which he exerts full control. He has even gone so far as to move buildings from throughout the world into his new kingdom,

Nate D
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the entire 20th century settling into swamp
Recommended to Nate D by: phantasmagoric basement horses
Paired with the piercing brilliance of another novel of the forces of dreams that I happened to read nearly at the same time, The Lathe of Heaven, this is all murk and decay and irrational forces, the dream-unleashed id of a century that would, just a few years later, reveal first the bloodiest war in world history, then another even more cataclysmic, almost immediately after. Not that Lathe doesn't have its sense of entropy too, but an impressively sustained portion of this one seems given over ...more
My 950th rating here

(Apparently Kafka read it and enjoyed it.)

Alfred Kubin's atmospheric book is precisely what I expected it to be just from looking at his works. It's his art morphed into words, it emanates the same atmosphere, the same grotesqueness. Don't expect much out of it, just read it for what it is and enjoy his descriptions of the bizarre Dream Realm.

If only more artists would use writing to express themselves, to convey their art through words, what I would give to read something w
This must be the most weird and puzzling book I have ever read. Forget Kafka, go for Kubin, for it has much richer inner world and somewhat mystic experience of which there is hardly anything to say beyond true amazement.

On the surface this is a story about a person who gets an invitation from his old school friend Patera to join him in his newly founded Dream Country. Patera build Dream Country after he inherited an immense wealth in a series of fortunate events. The narrator decides to move th
J.M. Hushour
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Typical of this stage was a love of half-withered flowers."

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this novel is better than anything Kafka wrote. That's risky as hell, but I don't care because it is way better. In fact, written in 1908, it's almost as if Kafka's entire career was trying to match up with this, Kubin's literary pinnacle. This is a feat, considering the guy was a blurrier-Edward Gorey type illustrator, but maybe that's the key here: the translation of horror from sketch to s
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whoa, that is some ending. Up until the phantasmagoric finale the tone of Kubin's prose (albeit translated) felt a bit flat to me, considering he was describing something called the Dream Realm. But this type of telling actually enhances the doomed atmosphere that characterizes the latter part of the book, allowing its horrific scenes to stand out in stark terms. As others have noted this can be read in a myriad of ways, and seems to rise above the milieu of its time, despite what could be deeme ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came to see that behind the world was the power of the imagination: ‘Imagination is power.’


Jede Nacht besucht uns ein Traum

The earliest graphic work of Alfred Kubin are ink paintings of scenes out of nightmarish dreams – vampiric flying creatures, skulls emerging from stormy seas, reptilian idols, naked human forms galloping across landscapes on spidery legs, or hanging from precipices with ghosts pulling at their ankles. The artist was in his early twenties, having recently discovere
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
In a decadent, surreal mood, I dove into this. It is certainly both of those things, but it isn't like the mind-twisting imagery of Bruno Schulz or Michael Cisco for example. The narrator is a perfectly rational man describing what he's experiencing, and more or less sharing our reaction.

For most of this book what we see is a very strange world, but one that could be constructed without any sort of supernatural aid. It's a world where the sky is perpetually overcast, the people dress strangely a
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
AWESOME!!!!! One of my new favorites !
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For Freud, symbolism was straight forward: baldness meant castration, suitcases meant female genitalia, telescopes were phallic metaphors and a cigar was something that Freud regularly sucked on no matter how much it hurt him, but he always stressed was just a cigar. There's a scientific (though utterly wrong) logic and simplicity to Freud's understanding of symbols and how they relate to our subconsious, our 'other side'.

That's not here in The Other Side. Instead, nothing and everything is in T
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nothing short of amazing. I have wanted this book for so long but because it is out of print had difficult tracking it down. I was fortunate enough to be given a beautiful copy on Saturday evening. I adore Kubin as an artist and no less as a writer. Because it has been translated from German it is difficult to tell the actual quality of writing style but the story alone is enough to fall in love with it.

It's a hugely underrated novel. My edition from 1969 is the first edition to have his comple
Wan Nor
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird-fiction
Imagine you are on a train and you are going to a distant place that you have been to before. Now imagine yourself sleeping and dreaming as the train enters a cold and desolate landscape. Imagine yourself walking among the dead where the people seem more alive that the people you know in your real life. Imagine yourself now walking in the past among ruined building and ancient relics. Imagine yourself in another world where people commit orgies in the streets and snakes curl under your bead-shee ...more
Bryn Hammond
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: imagined-fiction
Just east of Samarkand... features a clan descended from Genghis Khan... Orientalist science fiction, with a Zoroastrian bent (?). What won me was the second half which is a vivid rendition of chaos come, end-of-times. In the first half I thought it a political fable but I lost that sense. Wild and compelling, mostly in the second half (and in this translation). An artist's only novel: that figures. It has his black-and-whites throughout. ...more
Moslem Ahmadvand
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Boring! A hodge-podge of realistic and surrealistic images and narratives!
Ricche Khosasi
try another perspective when reading this book, and the story is beyond ordinary novel
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Alfred Kubin is one cool guy. Had I been alive the same time as he, we would have been the greatest of friends. I first read this book over fifth-teen years ago when I had no idea who A.Kubin was nor had I any idea of the writers and the artists he worked with and/or identified amongst. Now, knowing a bit more about his time period and it's creators- this only intrigues me more. "Why did he write this and why didn't he write more?", I kept asking myself while reading. I wish he had written more ...more
Boy did that go downhill..... slowly.
An artist and his wife are invited to live in the secret Dreamland put together by a, lets call him an eccentric millionaire.
Whatever your idea of a Dreamland i can guarantee this won't be it :) . Its some pretty good weird fiction until the book starts announcing that the end is nigh... which was at the half-way point.
It just kept going and going. It also got more surreal and i prefer weird to surreal, its a fine line between the two.
The second half is mo
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully vivid and intense imagery, great dreary atmosphere and some fun characters, for example the barber who talks about philosophy so much that he has to get a monkey to cut hair for him. Also the comparison to Kafka on the back of the book actually kinds of makes sense, that's a first. ...more
Timothy Jarvis
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dream idyll becomes a nightmare in this darkly demented novel, whose utterly bizarre narrative pre-empts many of the stranger tropes of twentieth-century decadent fiction.
Kobe Bryant
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
pretty wild for a book from 1908
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Apparently Kafka liked this book and used it when writing The Castle. It is more of an elaborate setting than a story, unfortunately—a sort of reverse of the utopian genre (like News from Nowhere) which can’t help but be boring. Nothing is at stake. I enjoyed many scenes, however. For example, when the narrator first witnesses the "great clock spell":

"In our main square there’s a massive grey tower, a kind of squat campanile, housing an old clock... It exerts a mysterious attraction on all the i
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
European aristocrats and artists are disappearing from their towns. Entire structures are being moved, mysteriously, to a distant land. One day, the narrator of this tale is offered an invitation by a friend he'd forgotten he once had, to join him in a utopian dream world that's been his life project to create.

The premise of Kubin's story is a mix of European folklore and Orientalist fairytale, reconsidered through the destructive imagination only a Decadent could conjure. The story builds slow
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
About half way through and haven't yet decided if I want to plunge on or abandon it. Like a less compelling Prozeß redeemed by its scattering of rather sparkling little gems of bleak and horrific dream images.

I ended up finishing it; but I don't think that that was the nest decision. An interesting story that could have been a gem in the hands of a rather better writer.
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
one of kafka's inspirations. interesting at times, but more often slow and aimless. ...more
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Kubin was born in Bohemia in the town of Leitmeritz, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Litoměřice). From 1892 to 1896, he was apprenticed to the landscape photographer Alois Beer, although he learned little.[1] In 1896, he attempted suicide on his mother's grave, and his short stint in the Austrian army the following year ended with a nervous breakdown.[1] In 1898, Kubin began a period of artistic stud ...more

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“Yaşayanların dünyasına döndüğümde tanrımın sadece yarısının hüküm sürdüğünü keşfettim. Büyük ya da küçük olsun her şeyi, yaşam isteyen bir muhalifle paylaşması gerekiyordu. İtme ve çekim kuvvetleri, dünyanın iki kutbu ve akımları, mevsimlerin değişimi, gündüz ve gece, siyah ve beyaz - bunların hepsi birer savaştır.
Gerçek cehennem, bu karşıtlığın kendi içimizde de olmasıdır. Aşk bile 'dışkı ile idrar arasına' odaklanmıştır. Yüce olan, gülünç olana alaya ve ironiye yenik düşebilir.”
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