The Tragic Fate of Moritz Toth
The Tragic Fate of Moritz Tóth
A Novel by Dana Todorović
(Translated by the author)
Ex-punk rocker Mortiz Toth is languishing in the suburbs when he receives an unexpected call from Marika Foldes of the Employment Office, offering him a job as a prompter at the Budapest Opera. While trying to cope with the claustrophobia of long confinement in a rudimentary wooden box, struggling to follow Puccini’s Turandot in a language he doesn’t understand, in his free-time Moritz gradually becomes convinced that he is being pursued by a malevolent force; in the hideous person of his neighbour, Ezekiel.
The Tragic Fate of Moritz Toth is story told through two parallel narratives: the growing paranoia of our reluctant hero Moritz, and Tobias Keller, the Moral Issues Advisor with the Office of the Great Overseer, on trail for interfering with the free-will of a human being. As the plot in Moritz's world develops in the atmospheric style of Kafka and Bulgakov, Tobias discusses with the Disciplinary Committee the life path of Moritz Toth, which initiates debate over the age-old questions concerning the human condition. Mixing philosophy with first-class story-telling, Todorović charmingly coaxes us towards an unexpected conclusion, where the pieces of the puzzle finally come together and the connection between the two storylines is fully elucidated.
This book is published in cooperation with Peter Owen, as part of the World Series.
'By employing two stylistically different, but interconnected storylines, Todorović crafts an accessible, inventive exploration of a number of classic literary themes: the nature of good and evil, predestination versus freewill, the redemptive power of art, and the soullessness of modern bureaucratic society. The result is an entertaining, thoughtful read, with a twist that few are likely to see coming.'
J M Schreiber, Roughghosts
'It is to Todorović’s credit that she manages to tell a good story, at times somehow disturbing, but not too much, while keeping us guessing as to what is going on and raising some interesting ideas.'
'While Moritz and Tobias are both likable enough for a reader to care what happens to them, it’s really the choices comprising and beliefs driving their halves of the story, as well as its overall interplay between free will and immutable fate, that are the beating heart of this short but poignant novel.'
Madeleine Maccar, The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
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