In English for the first time, a panoramic satire about the star-making machine, set in celebrity-obsessed Weimar Berlin.
In Berlin, 1930, the name Kï¿½sebier is on everyone's lips. A literal combination of the German words for "cheese" and "beer," it's an unglamorous name for an unglamorous man--a small-time crooner who performs nightly on a shabby stage for laborers, secretaries, and shopkeepers. Until the press shows up.
In the blink of an eye, this everyman is made a star: a star who can sing songs for a troubled time. Margot Weissmann, the arts patron, hosts champagne breakfasts for Kï¿½sebier; Muschler the banker builds a theater in his honor; Willi Frï¿½chter, a parvenu writer, makes a mint off Kï¿½sebier-themed business ventures and books. All the while, the journalists who catapulted Kï¿½sebier to fame watch the monstrous media machine churn in amazement--and are aghast at the demons they have unleashed.
In Kï¿½sebier Takes Berlin
, the journalist Gabriele Tergit wrote a searing satire of the excesses and follies of the Weimar Republic. Chronicling a country on the brink of fascism and a press on the edge of collapse, Tergit's novel caused a sensation when it was published in 1931. As witty as Kurt Tucholsky and as trenchant as Karl Kraus, Tergit portrays a world too entranced by fireworks to notice its smoldering edges.