Leo Perutz

 

(1882-1957)

 

Leo Perutz: Austria Novelist Considered as a one of the most widely read narrators in German language, Leo Perutz was born in Prague in 1882 and moved to Vienna with his family in 1899. Between the First and Second World War, that is, in 1938 Perutz emigrated to Tel Aviv.
His work includes numerous novels and short stories and he has been translated into many languages. In his novels, the historical and the fantastic, reality and dream merge. Since a couple of decades Perutz is being rediscovered and interest in his work is growing.
Perutz’s multilayered and fiction open up a wide range of interpretations for the reader and testify to the his great creative power that is still fascinating today. He died in 1957 while he was visiting Austria in Bad Ischl.

 

 “A thick cloud of smoke rose from the fire and grew up and enveloped the Master, and for a while he disappeared from my eyes. But as soon as the smoke cleared, Messer threw Salimbeni into the flames with new incense. Then he asked: "What do you see now, Giovansimone?" ... "I see," said the master, "jagged rocks and ravines and gorges and stone grottos. And I see a rock, black in colour and floating freely in the air and it does not fall, which is a great miracle and is hard to believe". "This is the valley of Josaphat," cried Master Salimbeni. "And the black rock that hovers in the heights is God's everlasting throne. And know, Giovansimone: The appearance of the rock is a sign to me that you are destined to see something as powerful as never before that night looked in front of you. " ... "And now I see thousands and thousands, an infinite crowd, knights and councillors and richly adorned women who raise their arms and cry and there is a great lamentation among them." "They complain," cried Messer Salimbeni, "for what has been and can no longer be. They cry because they are condemned to darkness and forever deprived of the divine face." "There is a tremendous fire sign in the sky," cried the master, "and it shines in a colour that I have never seen before. Woe to me! It is not an earthly colour and my eyes cannot bear it." "This is the colour Drommetenrot", Messer Salimbeni called in a thundering voice. "This is the color Drommetenrot, in which the sun shines on the Day of Judgment."

 

[An excerpt from the novel "The Master of the Last Day" by Leo Perutz from 1923]