COME BACK, DR. CALIGARI by Donald Barthelme


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Taken together, these 15 short stories of a surrealistic nature constitute a considerable drain or one's perseverance. But there are several here which, in their amusing, fragmentary way, compensate for the more unfathomable companion pieces. In Florence Green a rich, eccentric old woman is surrounded by parasites each ingratiating themselves in their peculiar way. The Hiding Man is a character fleeing from the Church but the story seems more like a listing of horror movie titles; The Viennese Opera all makes some kind of connection between fashion models and abortion; and A Shower of Gold begins by stating: ""We'll pay you to be on TV if your opinions are strong enough or your personal experiences have a flavor of the unusual"". One of the more unusual experiences encountered here is the plight of a 35 year old man who finds himself in the sixth grade. Fortunately he keeps a diary...One of Bartheleme's characters protests that ""eloquence is really all any of us can hope for"". If the reader doesn't require more substance than Come Back, Dr. Caligari offers, he may be sufficiently satisfied by its ample demonstration of verbal dexterity. Doubtless it's no coincidence that the publication date is April Fool's Day.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1964
Publisher: ittle, Brown