A bookseller at the famed Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Mark Haber has written an unbelievably funny and dour novel about the nature of melancholy, set in a South American jungle. I still remember a particular scene involving rabid hounds roaming Tolstoy's estate, which was so detailed and so good I thought it was somehow true, but it was not. This is the joy of reading Mark Haber—falling into fictions face first.— From Spencer R.
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.