Review by Mieke Chew
“The most important writer of the decade” were the words used to describe Hermann Ungar in 1927. This was no small praise for a contemporary of Döblin, Kafka, and Musil. But less than a century later, Ungar has been all but forgotten. The Second World War has played no small role here. Ungar's books, too, were controversial. The critics couldn’t stomach Ungar’s indecent scenarios. Rather than pan the book, they ignored it completely. Ungar died young and found new enemies in death. Max Brod and Willy Haas were not men to cross in the 1930s world of letters; it seems that they worked to make this singular writer forgotten. It would appear that they succeeded. Ungar was as virtually unknown in his lifetime as he is today. Somehow his books remain in print and English translations are readily available. This is our great fortune; nearly a century later, Ungar’s beautiful, clear prose, and shocking, comic narratives remain every bit as vital and original . . .