The Nation interviews translator Susan Bernofsky on her just-published translation of Robert Walser's Microscripts. Here's a nice quote about the complexity of Walser's sentences:
I always need to read Walser twice. Do your translations try to replicate that feeling of bewilderment?
German readers also have that experience. I was at Stanford giving a lecture on the microscripts, and I read the first sentence of A Sort of Cleopatra in German. The native Germans in the audience couldn't follow it. The whole sentence is one big interconnected Chinese box, and you can't get it. I read it to the Germans, saying, All right, this is the subject of this sentence, here comes the main verb. It's not as if you could recombine the parts to make them totally clear. They are transmitted with a great level of complexity, with lots of clauses that are all logically interdependent. Walser is not trying to make it hard willfully. He has said it as efficiently as possible, this big thought. But the thought itself is this many-tentacled thing.
For more on these incredible works, listen to our Lit&Lunch audio with Bernofsky. Therein she discusses Walser and the Microscripts and even reads the entirely of Cleopatra, in her English translation.