A study of the totalitarian mindset with stunning resonance for today, The Cremator is a disturbing, powerful work of literary horror.
“The devil’s neatest trick is to persuade us that he doesn’t exist.” It is a maxim that both rings true in our contemporary world and pervades this tragicomic novel of anxiety and evil set amid the horrors of World War II. As a gay man living in a totalitarian, patriarchal society, noted Czech writer Ladislav Fuks identified with the tragic fate of his Jewish countrymen during the Holocaust. The Crematorarises from that shared experience. Fuks presents a grotesque, dystopian world in which a dutiful father, following the strict logic of his time, liberates the souls of his loved ones by destroying their bodies – first the dead, then the living. As we watch this very human character – a character who never ceases to believe that he is doing good – become possessed by an inhuman ideology, the evil that initially permeates the novel’s atmosphere concretizes in this familiar family man.