Threepenny Novel

Threepenny Novel

Publication Date: 1956

Publisher: Grove Press

Pages: 396

Format: Paperback

Authors: Bertolt Brecht, Desmond I. Vesey, Christopher Isherwood

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Brecht's only novel is, of course, based on his own Threepenny Opera, which was itself based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Set in Victorian London, the novel feels similar to Dickens in many ways, but written with a very dry humour and none of the sentimentality. The plot mostly involves the extremely dodgy business dealings of the characters Peachum and Macheath, along with some equally dubious bankers and financiers - in fact it feels surprisingly relevant to current times! A satirical yet rather subtle attack on capitalist society, Brecht's vision here is of a world in which the poor and weak are continually exploited in the most casual fashion by the powerful and unscrupulous who always come out on top. It's very good writing but may be a little slow-going for some.

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