"What an extraordinary writer he is!" —Franz Kafka
"Vivid. . . . [With] the thrill of intellectual obsession. . . . Weiss’s novels are remarkable for their ambitious conceits, stylistic variation, and unusual characters. . . . He uncovers the fear, apathy, longing and rage for which the now clichéd psychoanalytic terms were invented." —The Nation
First published in 1931 and now appearing for the first time in English, Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer is a disquieting anatomy of a deviant mind in the tradition of Crime and Punishment. Letham, the treacherously unreliable narrator, is a depraved bacteriologist whose murder of his wife is, characteristically, both instinctual and premeditated. Convicted and exiled, he attempts to atone for his crimes through science, conceiving of the book we are reading as an empirical report on himself—whose ultimate purpose may be to substitute for a conscience. Yet Letham can neither understand nor master himself. His crimes are crimes of passion, and his passions remain more or less untouched by his reason—in fact they are constantly intruding on his “report,” rigorous as it is intended to be. Both feverish and chilling, Georg Letham explores the limits of reason and the tensions between objectivity and subjectivity. Moving from an unnamed Central European city to arctic ice floes to a tropical island prison, this layered novel—with its often grotesquely comic tone and arresting images—invites us into the darkest chambers of the human psyche.
Paperback 560 pages Archipelago, 2010 Originally Published in 1931 6.38 x 1.38 x 7.13 inches ISBN 9780980033038 Literature, Fiction