Géza Csáth (pen name of Joszef Brenner) was a writer, playwright, musician, psychiatrist, and physician born in Hungary at the end of the 19th century. One of Sigmund Freud’s earliest followers, he pushed both life and art to radical extremes in an all-consuming—and ultimately fatal—search for the unvarnished truth about the human condition.
Written with unsparing clarity and reminiscent of the works of Frank Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe for their dark pessimism and gothic imagination, the short stories collected here pierce the veil of the seemingly tranquil, ordinary lives of their protagonist. At times realistic, at times dreamlike, Csáth’s gruesome, harrowing tales reveal the violent and irrational forces lurking just beneath the surface of a society on the verge of the abyss.
“A memorable volume, Csáth’s depiction of the collapse of Central Europe, by way of magnification of the collapse of the individual, is uncannily prophetic.”—Joyce Carol Oates, The New Republic
Gésa Csáth was a Hungarian psychiatrist, one of Freud’s first followers, as well as a music critic and opium addict. In 1919, at the age of 31, he killed his wife and then committed suicide, just one year after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire.