The Shadow of the Coachman's Body
Fiction by Peter Weiss
Translated by Rosmarie Waldrop
Peter Weiss’s first prose work, The Shadow of the Coachman’s Body, was unanimously praised as an original and perfect work of art by critics when it appeared in 1960. Here, in poet Rosmarie Waldrop’s stunning translation, Weiss arranges a dark, vividly alive comedy of inert objects in a dismal boarding house—stones, buttons, hooks, needles, chairs, newspapers in an outhouse, clinking tin cups, celestial orbs, sewing machines, an overwound windup music box—which have oblique characters’ shadows as their supporting cast. Described by Weiss as a “micro-novel,” The Shadow of the Coachman’s Body can be obscene, trivial and brutal, and yet it is also peculiarly intimate and offers endless possibilities—like a telescope and kaleidoscope rolled into one.