At the Edge of the Night by Friedo Lampe (Translated by Simon Beattie) - review by Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey

A Small Town in Germany

At the Edge of the Night


Hesperus Press 123pp £8.99 order from our bookshop

Friedo Lampe’s At the Edge of the Night was published in Berlin in October 1933 and removed from Germany’s bookshops a few weeks later. It was banned by the Nazis because of its decadent subject matters: a white woman with an insatiable sexual appetite having a quickie in the bushes with a black man; a middle-aged homosexual wrestler enacting fierce revenge on his handsome, youthful opponent in the ring; a masochistic steward who is mercilessly humiliated by the captain of an ocean liner; a young man failing to achieve orgasm with a prostitute who finds him attractive. Lampe writes about all of these people with a sleight of hand that is entirely unjudgemental. He has no reason to condemn or pillory them. His authorial voice is not unlike the one that echoes through the fiction of Henry Green: discreet and reserved almost to the point of anonymity.

Lampe was born in 1899 in Bremen. At the age of five he was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the bone in his left ankle, which necessitated treatment in a children’s hospital. He was sent to the East Frisian island of Nordeney, where he remained for three years, away

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