Man in the Holocene: A Story

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Dalkey Archive Press, 2007 - Fiction - 113 pages
3 Reviews

A stunning tour de force, Man in the Holocene constructs a powerful vision of our place in the world by combining the banality of an aging mans lonely inner life and the objective facts he finds in the books of his isolated home. As a rainstorm rages outside, Max Frischs protagonist, Geiser, watches the mountain landscape crumble beneath landslides and flooding, and speculates that the town will be wiped out by the collapse of a section of the mountain. Seeking refuge from the storm in town, he makes his way through a difficult and dangerous mountain pass, only to abandon his original plan and return home.

A compelling meditation by one of Frischs most original characters, Man in the Holocene charts Geisers desperate attempt to find his place in history and in the confusing and fragile world outside his window.

"A luminous parable. . . . A masterpiece." -New York Times

"Poetry of the mind rather than the senses--sparse and austere, with every detail chosen for its resonances. . . . A small book but a major achievement." -Washington Post

"Haunting, sad yet lovely. . . . An important, disturbing and powerful novel that deserves attention." -Chicago Sun-Times

"Frisch is a great, and even an inspiring, writer, because he gives us the unique sense that the act of analysis is a passionate act, impelled by our fear of the worlds dissolution and our knowledge of our own fragility." -Newsday


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - neurodrew - LibraryThing

A book about a Swiss civil servant’s retirement and descent into Alzheimer’s disease. He develops, ominously, a passion for organizing, and ends up lost in a long walk in the woods. Read full review

Man in the Holocene (Swiss Literature)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In Frisch's 1979 novel, the aging Geiser sits alone on the closing days of his life as a violent rainstorm rages outside, threatening to cause a mud slide that will wipe out his small mountain town. He reflects on his past while his world literally crumbles around him. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Max Frisch was born in Switzerland in 1911. He attended the University of Zurich and spent six years in the Swiss Army. He also worked as a freelance writer and an architect. Frisch is most famous for writing the novel I'm Not Stiller and the play The Firebugs. Both works explore one of Frisch's major themes: the problematic nature of living life without a true understanding of one's identity. Many of his works feature explore this theme, including the plays The Chinese Wall, Andorra: A Play in Twelve Scenes, and Don Juan; or the Love of Geometry. He has also written several other novels, including Homo Faber: A Report, and Man in the Holocene. Frisch was awarded the International Neustadt Prize for Literature in 1987. He died in 1991 in Zurich.

Geoffrey Skelton has translated Max Frisch s "Man in the Holocene, Sketchbook: 1966-1971" and "Bluebeard", and Peter Weiss s "Morat/Sade". In addition, Skelton has edited a number of books on classical music.

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