'The more I knew of Haffner,' writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, 'the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.'
In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition. For Haffner is 78.
Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.
And so the century ended: with Haffner watching a man caress a womanâ€™s breasts.
It was an imbroglio. He would admit that much. But at least it was an imbroglio of Haffnerâ€™s making.
He might have been seventy-eight, but in Haffnerâ€™s opinion he counted as young. He counted, in the words of the young, as hip. Or as close to hip as anyone else. Only Haffner, after all, would have been found in this position.
Concealed in a wardrobe, the doors darkly ajar, watching a woman be nakedly playful
“A novel where the humor is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous, and the talent startling.” —Milan Kundera