Translated by George Szirtes
From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize
In the darkening embers of a Communist utopia, life in a desolate Hungarian town has come to a virtual standstill. Flies buzz, spiders weave, water drips and animals root desultorily in the barnyard of a collective farm.
But when the charismatic Irimias - long-thought dead - returns, the villagers fall under his spell. Irimias sets about swindling the villagers out of a fortune that might allow them to escape the emptiness and futility of their existence. He soon attains a messianic aura as he plays on the fears of the townsfolk and a series of increasingly brutal events unfold.