Author(s): Octave Mirbeau
Octave Mirbeau, author of the classic satires The Torture Garden and Diary of a Chambermaid (the latter filmed by both Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel), wrote this scathing and uproarious novel on the very cusp of the twentieth century. Feeling that he's being driven mad by modern life, Georges Vasseur heads off for a rest cure. At a spa town, however, he encounters precisely those things he's been trying to escape: corrupt politicians, amnesiac coquettes, cheerfully sadistic killers, imperialist generals, and quack psychiatrists. Hypocrites are eternal, and not much has changed since Mirbeau wrote this acid portrait of his era.
"An entire social order is rendered clear through these twenty-odd outrages, admirable in the strength of their offensiveness." -- Alfred Jarry "Octave Mirbeau is the greatest contemporary French writer, and the one who best represents the eternal brilliance of France." -- Lev Tolstoy "A man of justice who has given his heart to the wretched and miserable of this earth." -- Emile Zola
Octave Mirbeau (1848--1917) was one of the leading lights of the "Decadent" movement in French literature, as well as one of its most savage parodists; producing works in virtually every genre (reportage, art and literary criticism, travel writing, fiction, and drama), he exploded the boundaries of the nineteenth-century novel, pointing the way to everything from surrealism to gonzo journalism.