in the UK
No synopsis provided
Publisher and industry reviews
UK Kirkus review
First published in 1927 and now translated into English for the first time, this is the bleak and disturbing story of Polzer, a reclusive bank clerk living in Prague. He is a man wracked by guilt, obsessiveness, insecurity and, above all, a deep hatred and revulsion for women, brought about by events in his childhood. Change is his enemy and for years he manages to live in obscurity in his one-room lodgings, polishing his shoes for half an hour a day, going to work, counting his possessions and exchanging no more than a few words with his widowed landlady. However, his ordered existence comes to a sudden end when the landlady accuses him of treating her like a servant and, out of sheer guilt, he invites her to accompany him on his Sunday afternoon walk. Her inevitable and irresistible sexual advances set in motion a grisly and seemingly unstoppable chain of events which culminates in a shocking and chilling murder. A sparse narrative style emphasizes the isolation of Polzer and the inexorability of his fall. There is no relief from the blackness and despair in which he finds himself, surrounded as he is by a cast of grotesques, physical and emotional cripples, disgustingly obese, rancid with disease. There is no sense of the possibility of spiritual regeneration, no light at the end of the tunnel. In a helpful foreword, the translator places this virtually unheard-of author and his work in the context of other German writers of the same period who have left an enduring legacy such as Brecht and Kafka. While he shares some similarities with these writers, it is, Mitchell argues, the uncompromising bleakness of Ungar's work, the lack of any spiritual dimension, that has ensured that he has been left in relative obscurity. Perhaps this new translation will help introduce him to a wider audience. (Kirkus UK)
Other books by this author See all titles
The prices displayed are for website purchases only, and may differ to the prices in Waterstones stores.