What would be your worst nightmare? Elias Canetti's novel 'Auto-da-Fé' is about a scholar named Peter Kien. HIS worst nightmare is seeing his private library go up in flames.
The novel reveals a man who goes mad from his love of books, which also leads to his death. Elias Canetti received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his first and only novel.
A novel that had the impact of a bomb. World War II and the history of the century from the perspective of a small man — and a reckoning with Germany as it rebuilt itself during the 1950s.
Loss of homeland often comes with loss of language, and for writers this can be like losing one's soul. With clear words Canetti describes this pain in her autobiographical novel of exile from Nazi-occupied Austria.
Many novels deal with the decline of European civilization during the period between the world wars. But no other novel is as sweeping and yet profound as Doderer's Vienna-based epic. It also makes for a good laugh.
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