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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
What a wonderful book – thrilling and addictive, this is a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes with both a perfectly neat ending and layers of ambiguity. Perutz nicely captures the voice of the stuffy, selfish, honorable – but unreliable – narrator. The book is set in comfortable middle class Vienna in 1908 but soon the atmosphere is filled with a nameless, supernatural horror. Eugene Bischoff, a notable actor, has committed suicide – or has he? Outwardly it seems like a random death – he shot himself while preparing to perform a scene from Shakespeare for his guests. However, some little unpleasantness suggests something else is going on. The narrator, Baron von Yosch, unhappily pines after Bischoff’s wife, Dina, and has recently learned that Bischoff is broke after the failure of a bank, though his friends and family are keeping the fact from him. Yosch is irritated by a new guest that Dina seems to favor, Solgrub, and disturbed by a story that Bischoff told about the motiveless suicides of two brothers. Felix, Dina’s brother, thinks Yosch is responsible for the death but Solgrub and another friend, Dr. Gorsky, think another murderer is out there. Solgrub is the Sherlock Holmes in the story, an intelligent, active man with some lingering horrific memories of war and an alcohol problem, who contrasts with Yosch. Perplexed Yosch, doubtful Felix and logical Gorsky at times are his Watsons. The mystery is finally solved after Solgrub’s various hypotheses conjure up all sorts of images of creepy murderers and supernatural evil, though there are several casualties along the way. As in other Perutzs, the ending is given – obliquely – in the prologue (we find out who died, for example) but the meaning does not become clear until the end of the book. There are several layers of unknowing in the book – no one, at first, knows what has happened and Yosch remains confused while Solgrub collects evidence and draws conclusions. In addition, Yosch is an unreliable narrator. We find out that he has kept things from the reader and added in reasons for his actions. He pretends that some of his meaning-filled comments were innocent mistakes and occasionally fades out at important moments. The epilogue adds another layer of distance. The solutions that the group discovers may be what happened or the whole book could be Yosch’s elaborate justification. Another possibility is also raised towards the end. A number of logical solutions are possible but various symbols point to the deaths as fate rather than suicide or murder. Besides all Yosch’s unreliability, his narrative is littered with memento mori. The gardener is Death personified, who Yosch called for Bischoff, Brahm’s piano trio is its own day of judgment with Satan triumphing, Gotterdammerung is playing on that fateful day, and Yosch’s thoughts of his own suicide hang over the interval. The cut on Yosch’s head that he can’t seem to recall getting foreshadows his later run-ins with death and Gorsky’s death, which occurs after the events of the book, also parallels the suicides. The ambiguity was one of the things that made this book complex and memorable.
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
The Master of the Day of Judgment is an intruiging mystery about a succession of apparent suicides that take place in early 20th century Vienna. First an artist, then his brother. The highly regarded actor Eugen Bischoff who knew those 2 previous unfortunates is himself found dead in his own home, a victim it seemed of his own hand. It was 2 days before the opening of his biggest and most awaited play -- there was absolutely no reason for him to end his life just then. Close friends who were in the vicinity at that time, took it upon themselves to explore the mystery of this series of unexplained suicides. Within two days, they painstakingly try to establish what took place during the actor's last hour and follow clues that, only gradually they realise, placed them at greater and greater peril. Two more suicides in the same number of days bring to light the secret that connected these events. This is the first work I’ve read of Perutz and I’m impressed by how the real (or what we are led to believe to be real) and the imaginary fluidly merge in his narration. We wonder in the end if we were reading an account by Baron von Yosch (a friend of the actor) of an actual hunt for the "monster" which had triggered the suicides, or if the existence of the "monster" was an ingenious stratagem he took to deflect attention from the real cause of the suicide (the Baron himself). A psychological thriller, completely absorbing, and the eerie ambiguity in the end which could be an unsatisfactory close from a lesser writer, in this case only served to enhance the fantastical elements of the story. Highly recommended.
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Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages – Wikipedia
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Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages
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Leo Perutz - Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages
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Lehrerzimmer » Blog Archive » Der Meister des jüngsten Tages
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Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages von Leo Perutz
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Leo Perutz Der Meister des Jüngsten Tages Test Hörbuch
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