THE IMPOSSIBLE PROOF by Hans Erich Nossack
Kirkus Star


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The successful German novelist (unfamiliar here except for Untergang which appeared in paper) is certainly reminiscent of Duerrenmatt, say The Quarry or some of the earlier parables in which paradoxical games of life and death are enacted against a more uncertain, symbolic landscape. The defendant here is an anonymous insurance broker on trial for the disappearance? demise? of his wife to whom he has been married for seven years. Friendless, childless, their existence has been ""irreproachable to the point of tedium."" There are few facts to finger: a tearstained handkerchief; an ashtray left on the stairs; her coat which turns up in a second-hand store. Throughout his cautiously evasive, enigmatic testimony, there are many more allusive intangibles: her emotional insecurity; his unstable temper; his referral to that ""uninsurable"" instant outside of time; the ""second of horror""; the ""gaps"" which end in a broken mid-sentence. It is all surprisingly, seductively inscrutable, a metaphysical teaser and twister of great subtlety.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1968
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux