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Bercovici, Konrad Listings

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1 Bercovici, Konrad Against the Sky
New York Covici-Friede 1932 1st/2nd printings before publication Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj 
[solid copy despite some slight deterioration to binding at spine ends, offsetting/discoloration to gutters, minor dust-soiling to top edge, one-time owner's signature on both pastedowns and on the ffep; jacket is color-faded at spine (although black lettering and graphic are still strong) but still quite attractive, and exceptionally clean given its textured surface]. The Romanian-born author's "first full-length novel of gypsy life," although he was already well-known for his short stories about these colorful folk and their exotic folkways. Set in New York City (the East Side, specifically), per the blurb it's "filled with color, gayety, song, and the terror-haunted, age-old superstitions of a tragic race." 
Price: 50.00 USD
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2 Bercovici, Konrad; introduction by John Reed Crimes of Charity
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1917 First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [good solid copy, minor deterioration to cloth at top of spine, light external soiling, vintage bookplate on front pastedown]. This Romanian-born author's first book, a first-person narrative by an investigator for a New York City charity organization, recounting the corruption and inequities he discovers (and is required to perpetrate) while working on the Lower East Side. In his introduction, John Reed writes: "Every person of intelligence and humanity who has seen the workings of Organised Charity knows what a deadening and life-sapping thing it is, how unnecessarily cruel, how uncomprehending." Lauding Bercovici's account for its "absolute conviction," he states: "Here we see and smell and hear the East Side; its crowded, gasping filth, the sour stench of its grinding poverty, the cries and groans of lamentations in many alien tongues of the hopeful peoples whose hope is broken in the Promised Land." Contemporary reviews seem unclear as to whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, but in any case (as The New York Times put it), "the destructive criticism is thorough [and] comprehensive.... [and the book is] basically true and interesting, as well as something new and vigorous in a literary way." 
Price: 50.00 USD
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3 Bercovici, Konrad For a Song
New York Dodd, Mead & Company (c.1931) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj 
[some soiling to page edges and bottom edges of covers, tiny frayed nick at top of spine; jacket edgeworn with various tiny nicks and tears, minor paper loss at top of spine, age-yellowing to rear panel]. Novel about a young Italian-American girl, Maria Caproni, whose burning ambition is to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. Much of the action takes place in New York's Little Italy neighborhood, and the narrative is populated with all sorts of "colorful" urban characters: Connolly and Weinstein, an Irishman and a Jew (there's an original pairing!), junk-peddling partners who become millionaires; a golden-voiced tenor, "a Rabelaisian figure who instantly captivates the reader" (it sez here), who directs young Maria's career; a crooked art dealer; a usurer (another Jew, imagine that); a bootlegger; and so forth. 
Price: 60.00 USD
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4 Bercovici, Konrad Singing Winds: Stories of Gipsy Life
Garden City NY Doubleday, Page & Company 1926 First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [solid copy, small dent at top of front cover, light fading to spine cloth, light dust-darkening to top edge]. The author goes again to his seemingly inexhaustible well of stories based on his early life, much of which was spent wandering with the gypsy tribes of Roumania. 
Price: 35.00 USD
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5 Bercovici, Konrad That Royal Lover
New York Brewer & Warren 1931 8th printing Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj 
(price-clipped) [light shelfwear, a couple of corners very slightly bumped, dust-soiling to top of text block, a bit of glue residue on front pastedown (probably from a vanished bookplate); jacket has small tears at several corners, a couple of tiny puncture-tears in rear panel, a bit of shallow chipping along the top edge]. The Romanian-born author (resident in the U.S. since the mid-1910s) here writes of the political situation in his native country, "the whole story of Queen Marie, her husband, King Ferdinand and their son, Carol." In this telling, Marie is the primary villain: "Behind all the intrigues lies a woman's insatiable desire for power, and an unscrupulous man's desire for wealth. The royal household, its atmosphere and amorous intrigues dominated by Queen Marie and Prince Shtirbey, the Rasputin of Roumania, has never before been unveiled to the public." (Shtirbey is the "royal lover" of the title, by the way, and according to Wikipedia was possibly the father of two of Marie's six children, Prince Mircea and Princess Ileana.) It all adds up to "a picture so terrible and so ridiculous, it is at time unbelievable that such things should take place in this day and age." The situation in Romania was much in turmoil at the time this book was published (Marie would ultimately end up pushed out of the political scene by the machinations of her son Carol, who had usurped the throne from HIS son Michael in 1930), although my knowledge of it isn't sufficient to know how well this particular account holds up in terms of historical accuracy. As an entertainment, though, it's a corker: in the estimation of the New York Times reviewer, Bercovici "lays on his colors with a lavish brush [and] drives his narrative forward at a rapid pace," presenting "an array of political intrigue, amorous escapade and financial corruption, spiced with plot, counterplot and dark hints of suicide and murder, such as is to be found only in the works of writers of fiction of the most sensational sort. To open this book is to be plunged into a realm where operetta reigns one minute and tragedy the next." 
Price: 50.00 USD
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