Thursday, 2 June 2016

Grinmar, A Novel by Nathan Kussy (1907)

Picture courtesy of the Kussy Family Pictures at Picasaweb

Nathan Kussy was a Jewish lawyer and member of the Board of education in the US (presumabely New Jersey but I'm not sure) whose father was born in Bohemia and who wrote two things of interest. The Abyss, a novel about beggars and outcasts which is described by the Columbia Daily Spectator thusly

"Such unbelievable practices as the maiming of a child's hand to enable him to become a better beggar are described in great detail. The incident of a deformed girl who was encased in a monkey's skin and trained to pass off as one is another of the abhorent pictures he draws. At times he is extremely sentimental. "

The other is the current work, which appears to be Kussy's first, published about nine years before Abyss. It takes place in the Fifteen hundreds and concernes the diabolical plan of bloody vengeance of one old miser against all his enemies, who keep fawning over him to win his inheritance.

The story is very well handled and when Kussy is compelled to deal with his human characters, he draws you in and writes very well indeed, his title character is a charming rogue, who takes immense pride in entertaining his guests before he leaves them to their demise. The only part worth lamenting is that Kussy added a long section concerning the changes of the weather before and after the main text. The prologue does at least do it's job of setting up the terrible snowstorm at the novel's outset, but the epilogue prattles poetically a bit too long, and honestly could have been cut except for sections of the final instalment (for both prologue and epilogue come in several parts) which directly tie into the novel's end.

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