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It’s the 1980s. Max is a forty-something neurosurgeon with a secret: he has discovered a way to induce suicide in laboratory rats. And now he’s going to track down the band of Nazis who killed his father, and make them the first human subjects of his new technique.
That is, if he is able to navigate his Compulsive Bibliophilia Disorder, which is tearing down his New York City apartment from the inside, his sexual obsession with a succession of frizzy-haired, denim-clad student social workers called Arlene, his supremely attractive Aunt Florence, and his Penile Paradox, which kicks in as soon as he encounters any woman he considers unattainable.
Revenge, loss and frustrated desire are never far out of the picture in this darkly comic tale of one man’s journey to oblivion.
Peter Berczeller was born in Austria in 1931. He spent part of his childhood in France, after the Nazis drove his family out of Austria. He lived in the United States for 50 years, and was a practicing internist in New York City for 32 of those years. His book Doctors and Patients: What We Feel About You (Macmillan) gathered favorable notice, notably in the New York Times Book Review. He has also recently published a memoir, The Little White Coat, in German translation in Vienna.