On the Edge of Reason
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On the Edge of Reason

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4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  385 ratings  ·  20 reviews
During his long and distinguished career, the Croatian writer Miroslav Krleza (1893-1981) battled against many forms of tyranny. In On the Edge of Reason his protagonist is a middle-aged lawyer whose life and career have been eminently respectable and respected. One evening, at a party attended by the local elite, he inadvertently blurts out an honest thought. From this mo...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1938)
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Greg
The majority of the people I work with are slaves to this little electronic device that you scan books with. It's called a PDT. The PDT tells you where to shelve the book, and if it does a loud sing-song series of beeps one is supposed to return the book. Most people when they hear that beep they write up a little slip with the return vendors name ASAP and get that book onto a cart to be shipped back. The problem is the PDT has no brain and it's only reacting to a list generated by some faceless...more
Caroline
Krleza deceptively starts off with his protagonist penning a banal self-portrait; he is, he tells us, a well-meaning nonentity who has a high tolerance for the vast folly he see around him as he drifts through life, corporate attorney for a manufacturing company. Ho-hum, you think, can anyone be this self-complacent?

Only he has a breaking point. During a dinner party he absentmindedly voices an honest thought about a vile act that his employer, the host and a crass Fascistic cad, boasts about. T...more
Tara
I read this years ago, having picked it up randomly at a small, independent bookstore, and I haven't seen it elsewhere. I re-read it a few months ago, and it was as good as the first time. It's not the most inspirational tale of all time, but if you're feeling incredibly frustrated by human behavior, this is great. The author couldn't help calling it like he saw it, and from what I understand, that didn't make him too popular with society figures who wanted to flatter him in real life either. He...more
Ivana
Krleža u svome ponajboljem izdanju. Kada sam čitala ovaj roman konačno sam pomislila " Aha, zato svi misle da je genijalan." Stvarno je odličan pisac, zna pisati što je je, ali nekako imam podijeljen sud o njegovim radovima, neki mi se manje sviđaju, neki više...nekad je malo predvidljiv, ali opet nekad je potpuno nepredvidljiv. No, dobro nitko ne može biti uvijek i u svakom trenutku odličan. Znam da mi je netko pričao kako je bio težak karakter, ali opet tko nije? Znanje čini čovjeka nesretnim....more
ben
All of my cynicism, my sarcasm, my superiority complexes, just like, all of the stuff that I feel towards most of my classmates is reflected in this book.

I liked it, it's funny, it made me feel better about the world.
Rebecca Duncan
Although this is a Croatian literary classic, this work definitely deserves to be included in all those "must-read-before-you-die", "best books of all time" or "read this if you want people to think you're an intellectual."

This rating may seem a bit overly patriotic and somewhat far - fetched, but once you get inside the main points of this amazing and breathtaking novel, I think you will not be reluctant to change your mind.

As the title itself suggests, the work is basically written "on the edg...more
Sunny
the book is about a rich dude who speaks his mind at a richer and more publically recognised dudes house party about a crime the richer dude committed. its about speaking your mind in the face of all the odds. its about the european angst ting. reminded me of crime and punishment where at one point you completely believe in the case for the plaintiff but then are swayed onto the side of the defendent. good stuff short book. there is also a section at the end which randomly mentions a famous pian...more
Felix Purat
Graduating from the school of Kafka (with a hint of Chekhov, if I'm not mistaken), Miroslav Krleža's On the Edge of Reason is nevertheless its own deal. Exploring nonconformity with a cynical and absurd lens (indeed its similarities to l'Etranger could make Krleža a Croatian Camus, save that On the Edge of Reason preceded l'Etranger by four years, making Camus more like a French-Algerian Krleža), On the Edge of Reason is an excellent and recommendable read for cynics, absurdists, nonconformists,...more
Goran Markov
"On the edge of reason"

A great study of the, so called, advanced or elite society.
Krleža masterfully colors the differences between acceptance and refusal, between success and bottom, as well as the state of mind of "intellectuals" and other public figures. It tells a story of a successful man, who becomes an outcast after publicly speaking his own mind and eventually starts questioning his own sanity after losing ties with his previous life as the consequence of his directness.

Although, at tim...more
Ivan Pašalić
Having already read some of his works, I had already gotten to know Krelža's brilliance, but this book made me admire him even more. His style and his brilliant commentaries and critique of the society and his long narratives (main character's thoughts), especially about worldviews made "Na rubu pameti" one of my favorite books. Some of the paragraphs were so great that I had to reread them several times before continuing on with the book. It was a shame I had to spread reading over several week...more
Anđela Vidović
Portrait of an anonymus intellectual who, like anybody else, has a right to look and think about the world in a way he wants. Rebellious laywer decides to speak his mind. What else he can loose?! Opening chapter about human stupidity is in my opinion one of the best openings to the novel.
Nancy M. Hayes
"... one of the great European novels of the first half of the twentieth Century" - Susan Sontag.

I loved the tone of this story, a political satire, embedded in the milieu of a WW1 totalitarian state, when a respected middle aged lawyer makes the mistake of blurting out his true thoughts at a dinner party. The setting is Zagreb, Croatia. The 170 page novel helped me understand what freedom means to people living there now.
Balika
Dense and thoughtful. Not riveting to say the least, but nonetheless a study of conformity and individuality in Croatia. In a way similar to Crime and Punishment, but the protagonist in this one is actually completely sane and just calling people on their BS. But he's treated like a criminal. A product of the times- interesting, serious and actually still quite relevant.
Stephanie
Reading the introduction, I grew rather nervous that book was going to be an overwhelming round of literary wankery. It seemed to start out that way too, but after the first chapter, Krleža's words-for-words'-sake style relaxed a bit. Although the fact that I liked this book probably suggests that I spend too much time in my own head, anyway.
Corwin
This is one of the most erudite expositions of the sickening tendency of humans toward tribal loyalty in the face of imagined and fabricated scandal. At once exasperating and hilarious, this is like something Kafka would have written if he weren't bonkers and had a good editor.
Doug
To be, or not to be? This is the true subject of Krleza's masterful novel on petty bourgeois Serbo-Croat society in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Davor
Great book.
Some parts are slow and hard to read but really deep and interesting.
Definitely one of my favorite books.
Dunjx
Ovo je za više čitanja.
janine
i like this guy.
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A leading Croatian writer and a figure in cultural life of both Yugoslav states, the Kingdom (1918-1941) and the Republic (1945 until his death in 1981). He has often been proclaimed as the greatest Croatian writer of the 20th century.
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“Treba ostati logičan, jer bilo kako bilo, logika nikada nije nepouzdan vodič. Istina je: bio sam prilično sam, ali osamljenost još uvijek nije dokaz da čovjek nema pravo.” 31 likes
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