“An exhilarating fever dream about the search for the secret of melancholy. . . . Haber’s dizzying vision dextrously leads readers right into the melancholic heart of darkness.” —Publishers Weekly
In this delightfully dense, fast-paced comedy with notes of László Krasznahorkai and Saul Bellow, Jacov and his scribe cross continents in search of the legendary prophet of melancholic philosophy.
At the turn of the twentieth century, as he composes a treatise on melancholy, Jacov Reinhardt sets off from his small Croatian village in search of his hero and unwitting mentor, Emiliano Gomez Carrasquilla, who is rumored to have disappeared into the South American jungle—“not lost, mind you, but retired.” Jacov’s narcissistic preoccupation with melancholy consumes him, and as he desperately recounts the myth of his journey to his trusted but ailing scribe, hope for an encounter with the lost philosopher who holds the key to Jacov’s obsession seems increasingly unlikely.
From Croatia to Germany, Hungary to Russia, and finally to the Americas, Jacov and his companions grapple with the limits of art, colonialism, and escapism in this antic debut where dark satire and skewed history converge.
- Mark Haber