Auto-da-Fé, Elias Canetti's only work of fiction, is a staggering achievement that puts him squarely in the ranks of major European writers such as Robert Musil and Hermann Broch. It is the story of Peter Kien, a scholarly recluse who lives among and for his great library. The destruction of Kien through the instrument of the illiterate, brutish housekeeper he marries constitutes the plot of the book. The best writers of our time have been concerned with the horror of the modern worldone thinks of Kafka, to whom Canetti has often been compared. But Auto-da-Fé stands as a completely original, unforgettable treatment of the modern predicament.
About the Author
Elias Canetti (1905-94)was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981. His writings include a monumental work of social theory, Crowds and Power, and three volumes of memoirs, The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in My Ear, and The Play of the Eyes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is quite possibly the most terrifying novel that I have ever read. If not for the wild and bizarre humor, the trials and fate of the protagonist, as well as the cruelty displayed by almost all of the other characters, would be almost unbearably harrowing. The overall effect is fascinating and powerful.
alienation vs. power,individual vs. group,art vs. capitalism,mentally vs.physiclly,etc...Canetti deals with it all,the result is an expressionist,grotesque,anarchistic and extreme novel:the sort of style that could only be written once,cause afterwards every imitation of it will look like an embarrassing joke.with it's bleak absurd humour and big,strong (though transparent) symbols on which Canetti manages to exlain the roots for the nazism ,it is written like an avant-garde Kafka to the mainstream.still unique, it's a must.