THE WATERFALLS OF SLUNJ by Heimito von Doderer

THE WATERFALLS OF SLUNJ

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1961, Doderer's Demons, which many Europeans considered the finest Austrian novel of this century, appeared here. This new book has many qualities in common with it; it proceeds horizontally rather than vertically, to give a perspective of a whole society as well as an era; it is meant for leisurely reading; and it is conservative, sometimes ponderous, often priggish, but enormously worthwhile. Beginning with one small coincidence, when a young British industrialist and his new bride meet a delightful Dalmatian clerk at their honeymoon hotel near the falls of Slunj in 1877, the story moves on to other coincidences, all plausible, until it completely contains a slice of society in that unlamentable Europe of the turn of the century. The industrialist moves to Vienna; the Dalmatian helps him staff his office there; the office staff, the new acquaintances, all are somehow interrelated with the narrative. What happens is of an abstract nature--a solid, established society moving imperceptibly downhill. It is all very real, very solidly, if a bit heavily, done, and the translation by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser is excellent. The book is as rich as a torte, and for the reader who reads to learn as well as to be entertained. Doderer has often been compared with Mann, not unjustifiably.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1966
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World