A rediscovered classic of Hungarian literature, this spellbinding collection vividly depicts the darkest impulses of the human psyche against the backdrop of Europe’s moral and social decline on the eve of World War I
Géza Csáth (pen name of Joszef Brenner) was a writer, playwright, musician, psychiatrist, and physician born in Hungary at the end of the 19th century. One of Sigmund Freud’s earliest followers, he pushed both life and art to radical extremes in an all-consuming—and ultimately fatal—search for the unvarnished truth about the human condition.
Written with unsparing clarity and reminiscent of the works of Frank Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe for their dark pessimism and gothic imagination, the short stories collected here pierce the veil of the seemingly tranquil, ordinary lives of their protagonist. At times realistic, at times dreamlike, Csáth’s gruesome, harrowing tales reveal the violent and irrational forces lurking just beneath the surface of a society on the verge of the abyss.
“A memorable volume, Csáth’s depiction of the collapse of Central Europe, by way of magnification of the collapse of the individual, is uncannily prophetic.”—Joyce Carol Oates, The New Republic