Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb


Another book in translation! This was recommended by a co-worker and wow, what a recommendation. Written in 1937 but not translated into English until 1994, this compelling, strange and beautiful novel deserves a much wider audience.

I’m struggling to provide even a brief synopsis so forgive me if this falls short of the mark: newlyweds Mihaly and Erzsi are honeymooning in Italy when Mihaly divulges the history of his group of childhood friends who were strangely wound up in a world of make-believe that married eroticism and death. From there, things slowly but surely start to fall.

Thoroughly Modernist and thoroughly European, Journey by Moonlight is definitely a product of the inter-war period. A sense of detachment and disillusionment pervades the whole novel and at points it descends into absurdism. I loved it but if modernism isn’t your thing you may not enjoy as much. That being said: there were echoes of Victorian gothic fiction at play so don’t write it off completely if you enjoy mysticism. It also acts at points like a traveller’s guide to Italy so also don’t write it off if you enjoy travel literature.

I cannot recommend this book enough and I have to stop throwing adjectives at you so I’ll just leave this here: READ IT READ IT READ IT.



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