In translation from the German by Michael Bullock, this is a strange, speculative search for an identity and it progresses- on a parallel- at two levels. Based on the notebooks of Anatol Ludwig Stiller, when in jail- after a six year disappearance, and on the comments of the prosecutor who hears his case, Stiller first appears- claiming he is not Stiller- a once prominent Swiss sculptor who had abandoned his wife, Julika, a tubercular, in Davos. It is Julika, who now identifies him and goes bail for him, who fills in for Stiller- and for the reader- the background to his desertion. Stiller appears to have been a rather contemptuous, contemptible, self-centered sort, not without his charm- to which the prosecutor's wife was also susceptible. When the case is heard, and on the evidence of others, Stiller's still-denied identity is returned to him, and he goes off to live with Julika- and only at her death faces his inability to accept himself which is a part of a greater evasion. For the thoughtful reader, an enigma which has its subtler, deeper implications.