A first English translation of a discursive, playful 1925 novel by the Swiss German master who spent the last third of his life (1878–1956) in a mental institution. "The robber''—in Walser's characteristically antic take on what some people call reality—is, simultaneously, an eccentric loner who converses casually with inanimate objects and "lectures'' in public about his feelings for his sweetheart; the writer, who "robs'' reality for the stuff of his fictions; and even a (literal) burglar who plans, quite meticulously, to rob a house that has long since been demolished. Much more happens (or threatens, or seems to happen) in this charmingly goofy display of one of the most quintessentially liberating of all modern literary imaginations. Reading Walser (whose other fiction includes the memorable Jakob von Gunten) may very well make you a much saner and nicer person. At the very least, it'll make your day.