This important, never-before-translated work by a major yet overlooked mid-20th century writer, is a brutally funny look at the human comedy on the eve of Europe's descent into Fascism.
A classic, prescient work of pre-WWII literature by a major Weimar author about a young man who is a failed used car salesman. In search of another means to live the high life, he decides to travel by train from Berlin to Madrid to see the World's Fair--and hopefully meet a beautiful, rich woman who will provide for his every whim.
It's a highly stylized, and at times raucously funny, tale of the almost-absurd: a dark and satiric look at Europeans, and especially Germans, from all levels of society on the brink of cataclysmic Fascism.
And as such, it is, perhaps, the most significant work of this important writer's oeuvre. Von Horva?th's work fearlessly tried to warn of the dangers of rising fascism and the militarization of Europe (which led to his having to flee Germany and Austria suc- cessively). His characters here are adrift in their acquisitive desires, making them vulnerable to the manipulations and propaganda of the State--and making this novel brilliantly foresightful in its understanding of politics and human nature at a crucial point in modern European history.
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March 27, 2012
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