A Dangerous Encounter

Overview

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, on a crisp autumn Sunday in Paris, a dreamy young man named Gerhard takes a solitary stroll. Handsome and well-bred, with a comfortable embassy job, he seems perfectly poised to continue his predictable ascent in society. Yet a fateful naivete and a mysterious timidity lie twined at the root of his soul, choking off his engagement with life and making him as vulnerable to its dangers as a sleepwalker. A chance encounter with Leon Duchase, a jaded and dyspeptic aesthete, ...
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0941419371 VERY GOOD HARDCOVER -- Boards may have light wear. Binding is secure. Inside, no markings were found. Dust jacket may light scuffing and/or edge-wear. A nice clean ... copy. WE SHIP DAILY! Read more Show Less

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Overview

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, on a crisp autumn Sunday in Paris, a dreamy young man named Gerhard takes a solitary stroll. Handsome and well-bred, with a comfortable embassy job, he seems perfectly poised to continue his predictable ascent in society. Yet a fateful naivete and a mysterious timidity lie twined at the root of his soul, choking off his engagement with life and making him as vulnerable to its dangers as a sleepwalker. A chance encounter with Leon Duchase, a jaded and dyspeptic aesthete, draws Gerhard into a new orbit - the gamy underside of Paris, a vortex of eroticism, twisted passions, and crime. Duchase quickly maneuvers him into a liaison with an unstable married woman. As the would-be lovers sit hand in hand in a seedy hotel, Gerhard witnesses the stabbing murder of a young ballerina. Junger's trap is sprung: after luring us (like Gerhard himself) into the languorous world of decadent pleasure, he plunges the reader into a crackling detective novel, complete with an engagingly metaphysical investigator. The surprising twists of the plot are haunted at every turn by the presence of Jack the Ripper, whose crimes on the other side of the Channel have spread fear throughout the city. Nothing Junger writes is without allegorical overtones, and in A Dangerous Encounter he gives us, along with a novel of great narrative zest and acute psychological penetration, a portrait of a culture's loss of innocence as it stands at the brink of the twentieth century. That Junger can succeed so simply, yet so forcefully, and on so many levels at once, is a testament to a major modern artist working at the peak of his powers.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Not one but many treacherous encounters fill the pages of Junger's ( In Stahlgewittern ) fin de siecle detective story. In the first such, Gerhard zum Busche, a young German diplomat living in Paris, meets a decadent aristocrat named Ducasse. Gerhard's striking good looks and equally striking naivete provide Ducasse with the opportunity to commit mischief, and he loses little time in orchestrating the mesalliance of Gerhard with the volatile Irene, Countess Kargane. An assignation is followed by murder and an investigation by the sharp-witted Inspector Dobrowsky and his admiring sidekick Etienne. Junger's shimmering, imaginative writing is most evident at the novel's beginning in his marvelous portrait of Ducasse, who resembles a rather more disillusioned version of Alexander Lernet-Holenia's Count Maltravers. Armed only with his cynicism and his savoir vivre , Ducasse is the last practitioner of a gentlemanly decadence which itself is the faded reflection of a bygone social structure. If the second half of the novel devolves into a rather unsatisfying francophonic Holmes and Watson riff, its beginning is a clear indication of Junger's talent. Marsilio's decision to introduce his work--whether for the first time as is the case here, or in the upcoming new translation of the 1939 On the Marble Cliffs --is laudable. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The 98-year-old Junger is considered by some critics to be one of Germany's most distinguished writers, but his success during the Third Reich and his murky relationship to the Nazi state has caused him to be rejected by others. His interest in France, which goes back in part to the days of the Nazi occupation, here yields a fascinating mystery novel set in late 19th-century Paris. While the mystery itself is easily solved by any fan of the genre, Junger is highly successful in evoking the decadent and menacing atmosphere on the edges of the great metropolis. The novel's elegant economy of style is beautifully captured in Barr's translation. Recommended for general readers.-- Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780941419376
  • Publisher: Marsilio Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1993
  • Series: Eridanos Library
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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