The Double Life of Alfred Buber


The Double Life of Alfred Buber

The Double Life of Alfred Buber

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Click here to watch a television interview with David Schmahmann about The Double Life of Alfred Buber


“. . . a truly remarkable literary creation. . . . There’s a balance, a way of seeing and then expressing on the page, that sets Mr. Schmahmann’s work apart from what so many others have attempted and failed to accomplish—and what he manages to do with paper and ink. He rubs words together like sticks, as if to set things ablaze.” --New York Journal of Books


"Reading “The Double Life of Alfred Buber” is a little like stepping onto a theme-park ride designed by a particularly well-read madman.

As Schmahmann’s effortlessly seductive prose draws us deeper into Buber’s strange and unreliable world, we’ll nod appreciatively at the novel’s coy references to literary giants such as Vladimir Nabokov and T.S. Eliot.  But we’ll periodically look over our shoulders to see if the ride’s entrance is still lit.

And when the ride’s done, we’ll find ourselves running back to the entrance to do it again
." --Richmond Times Dispatch



"Ultimately, The Double Life of Alfred Buber offers a fascinating examination of what happens when we pretend to be everything we're not. That this is something we all do at one time or another and to one extent or another (and with increasing frequency in the virtual age we're living in) makes it especially relevant. An excellent read and a gripping character study." --Small Press Reviews

"In style and subject, this novel pays homage to Lolita, and Buber sounds like a cross between that novel’s Humbert Humbert and T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock—lines from whose love song are mimicked and quoted by a narrator who has the same inclination for self-flagellation."      —ForeWord magazine

"Alfie Buber is a great comic character and this story reveals truths about poverty, loneliness, and our often misguided attempts at love."                                 —Daphne Kalotay, Calamity and Other Stories

"David Schmahmann has created a character with the vividness of J. Alfred Prufrock or Humbert Humbert.  Buber’s obsessions and the carefully-guarded secret life he leads makes for a compelling novel."    —Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

"An unusual morality play whose artful style veils the depravity of its protagonist."
—Kirkus


"Captures the desperation and love between unequals."    —Publishers Weekly


The Double Life of Alfred Buber is a memoir about an illicit love affair that one gradually begins to realize is rather different than the author confesses.   Alfred Buber is a pillar of his community, a respected man with a secret, and a secret life, until one day the two cross over and even he can no longer tell which is real and which is not. Buber’s passion for women is matched only by his inability to relate to them, and after years of bruising attempts to find love he seeks his escape in an illegitimate and all encompassing romance with a Bangkok bargirl.   She may reciprocate. She may not.   Buber’s dilemma—to believe in her, and in what he is doing, or not, to bring her home to Boston, or not, to continue a wholly respectable life that is bringing him no happiness, or not—is the premise of this truly unforgettable love story, and its equally unforgettable, completely flawed, lovers.  
David Schmahmann’s second novel has a kinship with Vladimir Nabokov’s fiction, given its elegance of language, humor, and content that deals with obsession, loneliness, folly, heartache, and the thin line separating reality from fantasy.

DAVID SCHMAHMANN’s first novel, Empire Settings, published by Plume in 2002, won the SUNY John Gardner Book Award in 2003 and was also the South African Sunday Times Book of the Week.  Born and raised in South Africa, he is an attorney (and American citizen) who lives and practices in Brookline, Massachusetts.   

Hardcover Edition 



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