A powder keg romp booming with quixotic elan, Reinhardt's Garden combines foolhardy hubris with slapstick adventure in pursuit of an elusive, and highly dubious, fount of melancholic enlightenment. Without so much as a paragraph break to impede its blistering inertia, Haber's novel slaloms through switchback turns and juddering topography while spouting a relentless stream of wild-eyed bluster. Irresistible, intricate, and wickedly amusing. Recommended By Justin W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
At the turn of the twentieth century, as he composes a treatise on melancholy, Jacov Reinhardt sets off from his small Croatian village in search of his hero and unwitting mentor, Emiliano Gomez Carrasquilla, who is rumored to have disappeared into the South American jungle — "not lost, mind you, but retired." Jacov's narcissistic preoccupation with melancholy consumes him, and as he desperately recounts the myth of his journey to his trusted but ailing scribe, hope for an encounter with the lost philosopher who holds the key to Jacov's obsession seems increasingly unlikely.
From Croatia to Germany, Hungary to Russia, and finally to the Americas, Jacov and his companions grapple with the limits of art, colonialism, and escapism in this antic debut where dark satire and skewed history converge.
"Hilarious and thrilling. . . . this novel may look like something new, but it reads like that timeless treat, a rollicking good yarn." Star Tribune
"An exhilarating fever dream about the search for the secret of melancholy. . . . Haber's dizzying vision dextrously leads readers right into the melancholic heart of darkness." Publishers Weekly
"Evokes Gertrude Stein, contemporary European and South American writers like Matthias Énard, Roberto Bolaño, and César Aira, with the Quixotic atmosphere of Werner Herzog films like Fitzcarraldo...A strange but lavishly imagined tale of a hard-to-describe feeling." Kirkus Review
About the Author
Mark Haber's 2008 collection of stories, Deathbed Conversions, was translated into Spanish in 2017. He has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts translation grant as well as the Best Translated Book Award. He lives in Houston, Texas, where he is a bookseller and the operations manager of Brazos Bookstore.