Severin's Journey also became my journey into the dark. The dark of side streets, the dark of the human heart, the dark of the human psyche.
Leppin's use of language is masterful, his sentences tight and to the point. He grabs you by the neck and sends you tumbling down a dark Prague street in the heels of Severin, a young, confused man, who despises everything around him because he despises himself. The internal conflict is as good as Knut Hamsun's Hunger, albeit it uses a completely different approach to portray the raw lust for love, understanding, and acceptance. When I say acceptance, I do not mean the external acceptance of the character by his surroundings; I mean the acceptance of himself by the protagonist. Severin has a little something of Hamsun, Kafka, and Ungar, but there is also a bit of Dostoyevsky's romantics and Capek's revolutionaries. Severin is conflicted, uncaring, unhappy individual who tries to quench his thirst for love and understanding by experiencing with women and even playing with death, but what he finds always disappoints him. He is desirable yet he, himself, desires not a single one of the women he ends up with, that is, until Ruschena enters his world. Until then, Severin leaves a path of destruction and heartaches in his wake as he moves on, unaffected. Ruschena changes it all, and, for the first time, Severin finds himself on the other side.
Yes, the book ended rather abruptly, but not so much as to be bothersome. While some of the motifs are dated, the story at its core remains relevant today. Well-written human stories are timeless.
Twisted Spoon Press puts out well designed, beautiful books with quality content. This fine example of German-Czech writing is no exception.