My review of Scarred Hearts by Max Blecher (translated by Henry Howard) is up on the Independent's website today. The Indy sub's header ("a lost classic that is an uneven mix of Thomas Mann and Mills & Boon") is a more than fair summation of a book I really wanted to love, but thought was pretty dreadful:

In recent years, the work of Joseph Roth, Antal Szerb, Leonid Tsypkin and Stefan Zweig has been rediscovered, treating readers to some delightful "lost classics". Each of these minor Mitteleuropean writers has a unique voice to be treasured, despite the slightness of some of their work and the overindulgence of some critics. Max Blecher's Scarred Hearts comes to us packaged as just such a lost classic. It was his second and last novel (in 1937), and Paul Bailey's introduction tells us that Blecher's "elegant style" was compared to that of Kafka and Rilke. Bailey also calls the novel a "masterpiece"...

[Actually, the novel is] a weak pastiche of Mann's The Magic Mountain. Sadly, this is a lost classic that did not need to be found (more...)

Readers Comments

  1. On the subject of Magic Mountain & Mills & Boon, the love declaration scene in Mann's novel is so curiously awful and in defiance of all credibility that one is forced to wonder what the hell is going on. Is it intentionally artificial & ludicrous? Just bad writing?
    Soderberg's 'Dr Glass' a quick mention of lost minor European classics well worth reading.

  2. Very good article, I learned a lot of knowledge in the hope that we can together

    a very good exchange, Guizhan also hope that better and better, I will frequented, thank you.

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