On Christmas Eve 1874, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whom history would remember as the first and most famous masochist, left his home in Bruck an der Mur in Austria for the unknown. The novel surmises he didn’t come back alone, but brought with him a new family member: a tiny red-haired girl he found in the forests around Lemberg (today known as Lviv). The Masochist is a memoir of Nadezhda Moser, the woman this little girl becomes, a fictional character who forces her way among the historical figures of the time.
This is a novel that returns post-postmodernism to modernism, along with being the story of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the turn of the century. The Masochist ponders the limits of women's desire and freedom against the backdrop of ethnic, class and gender tensions in an empire, which hasn't yet perceived its decline had already begun.
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