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The Maimed

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  233 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Set in Prague, The Maimed relates the story of a highly neurotic, socially inept bank clerk who is eventually impelled by his widowed landlady into servicing her sexual appetites. At the same time he must witness the steady physical and mental deterioration of his lifelong friend who is suffering from an unnamed disease. Part psychological farce, Ungar tells a dark, ironic ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Twisted Spoon Press (first published 1922)
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Jan 12, 2012 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lorne Michaels
Recommended to Mariel by: an education
I don't know if anyone else on goodreads is a fan of Canadian sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall? If you were this would be the easiest review ever to write. My favorite Kid, Bruce McCulloch, wrote and starred in some bits that I consider to be inspired. He has a dark and twisted mind that I adore. It could have gone anywhere and those guys let them go in all these different places in those years. Anyway, I love the "Huh" feeling at the end and all uncomfortable laughter in the dark. The kids w ...more
At first I thought Ungar had been to see Tod Browning’s Freaks, and directly plagerised modelled ‘The Maimed’ on it. But no: he wrote it in 1923 and Freaks came out in 1932. Lynch’s Boxing Helena came out in 1993, one big massive nod to Ungar as well.

The centrefold here is a Karl, and he has Aspergers. Ungar doesn’t say so, not least because Aspergers wasn’t identified til 1944, but nevertheless, what we have here is a portrait of the artist as an Aspergers man. Like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theo
Cheryl Anne Gardner
I read the Maimed two years ago, and it's one of those rare books that I return to over and over again. This is from my Amazon review:

Franz Polzer, a pitiable, wretched man, lives out his ordinary days in solitude and poverty ... the mundane tasks carving out his time and his life. Tortured by sick and demented hallucinations of his father and aunt, Polzer suffers an immense sense of self-loathing as well as a loathing of women and children. He also suffers endless nights in cold sweat, paralyze
Kobe Bryant
If Mann thought this was a 'sexual hell' then what would he think about my search history haha
Monica Carter

The Maimed by Hermann Ungar wonderfully terrifying descent into paranoia, perversity and the power of abuse. Well-written and captivating from the opening sentence, this novel tells the depressing story of Franz Polzer. Ungar leads us with a perfect narrative through a tale that offers no lasting happiness for the tortured soul of Franz or those around him.Thematically, we are dealing with repression, abuse, madness, homosexuality and sadism.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Read on, brave ones.

Franz Polzer, at the centre of this book, is a seriously neurotic, messed up bank clerk in early 20th century Prague whose paranoia, insecurity, social incompetence, and assorted lack of social skills makes this an unsettling, disturbing, and utterly marvellous book. Polzer's ineptness means that he passively watches his school friend whom he idolises waste away from some unknown rot-the-body disease, allows himself to be coerced into a sexual relationship with his landlady, and attempts to cont ...more
I would have given it five stars upon reading it through the first time, but I looked at it again several months later and I realized I liked it less. I liked it for its novelty, a novel exploring, excruciatingly, the short life story and psychosis of the supremely emasculated man. Ungar's other works deal with similar characters, individuals who may be considered marginal in the wide spectrum of society, freakish possibly. I was impressed with Ungar's sometimes sympathetic, sometimes brutal han ...more
This book was written in 1923 and portrays a sordid, squalid sexual pit of a strange group of Avante Garde twenty somethings in Prague. The main character Franz Polzer is lonely, superstitious, in the same bank clerk job for many years; he has been damaged by the early loss of his mother, and sexually repressed by images of his brutal father and step-aunt who are having relations; and by the maid Milka, who teases him ‘intimately’. Franz rents a room from Klara Porges a senior widow. She learns ...more
The weirdest yet most captivating story I've read so far this year. The plot is the story of Polzer, a wretched man who appears to suffer from OCD and other mental issues, living his mundane life in relative peace until a series of events begin to disturb his standarized way of life. Soon we get to know other important characters such as Polzer's landlady, Frau Porges, Polzer's childhood friend, Karl Fanta - now a cripple-, Fanta's family and a mysterious nurse that will contribute to the chaos ...more
Con una escritura intachable nos muestra un conjunto de seres humanos socialmente al límite. Todo un descubrimiento gracias a Offuscatio.
Świętosław Brzenczyszczykiewicz
Strange and direct bleeding of perspectives, of factual recount, dream, hysterical delusion, morbid desire, and hope, or perhaps it is lust which underwrites the derangement of Polzer. What a style, and how fitting to see the physical debasement of the fellow scroungers in Polzer's circle taken through, and done in such a style. From Polzer's mind, and from Polzer's degraded set of words that stand in for his eyes, we read but almost dream, or rather have a nightmare which is the cauchemar of Po ...more
Don't sleep with your landlady.
painful and disturbing
Colin N.
A truly fascinating and unique book. In "The Maimed" Ungar tells the story of Franz Polzer, a bizarre man who for 17 years has lived a meticulously-crafted life of routine as a bank employee. He wakes up at exactly the same time, goes to work, crunches his numbers, returns home, eats, and sleeps. Everything is done in exactly the same manner everyday. Yet Polzer is frightened with paranoid dreams at night, is taken to obsessively counting his possessions, and is incapable of most human interacti ...more
Michael Estey
by Hermann Unbar
translated by Mike Mitchell

A bizarre story of a man,
named Franz Polzer.

Polzer has problems with OCD. Obsessive, compulsive disorder. He is always counting things. Afraid he is being robbed. His life full of routines.
He lives with his oversexed landlady. After accepting a gift of clothing to wear to work as a bank clerk, his one and only job. He's offered a promotion but his fears intervene.
I found this book hard to follow, probably due to the translation from German to English.
I liked this book more than I thought I would. It has a story full of sick little twists, and a lot happens. Maybe it's a little slow in the beginning, but the pace speeds up at the end.

I'd agree with the other reviewer that it would have been better if it were in first-person. It would debase the reader who reads it as "I," and it would make the "I" more believable. As it is, the reader is divorced from the text and the whole book seems like a caricature. First person probably would make the m
No puede uno conocer a todas las personas que viven en la casa desconocida en la que uno está solo.
Jason Mashak
Someone already amply reviewed this as being like Kafka but with more intense ODC and sexual perversions... but it goes even deeper than that, into the mind of a neurotic, alienated, phobic protagonist that most psychiatrists would kill for a few sessions with, as Ungar's descriptions reveal the exact train of thought that leads one otherwise unconnected paranoia to another. One point I greatly liked, that was driven home by this book, is that what you fear the most, what you focus on fearing th ...more
Franz Polzer likes to relax by counting and re-counting his sheets of stationary. He has some serious social anxieties when he has a hole in his trousers. He's in love with an adolescent boy so he does his homework for him. He sleeps with his landlady so that he won't have to face the stress of moving.

But once the butcher starts spreading the word of God with his meat cleaver things get really weird.

It's like Kafka but with worse case of OCD and more sexual perversions.

This is a very sick, neurotic, and dark book, somewhat reminiscent of Kafka. It starts off in a familiar Bartleby kind of way, describing an alienating office environment that will be familiar to most people, and then becomes more and more perverse and twisted, touching on incest, pedophilia, misogyny, religious fanaticism, anti-semitism, mutilation and other cheery topics. Very well-written and oddly engrossing.
A very strange book, but the portrayal of the main character's thinking seems so realistic. Though not awfully graphic, it touches on all kinds of horrible situations the character goes through. His inability to take part in social situations, his outsiderness work, etc. are just as unsettleing as the physical, sexual, and psycholgical abuse.
A weird little book...not unpleasant, just odd. Main character is eccentric due to childhood issues, seems to surround himself with people as odd as he is. Trying, the whole novel to maintain a believable facade of normalcy. Twist at the end that I did not see coming.
James Coon
I only wish Ungar had written more. This has the makings of a masterpiece of its type. Having lived in and travelled to Central and Eastern Europe for many years,I can especially appeciate the dark oddness of this story.
Chaos and misery. A comforting read for anyone with mild agoraphobic tendencies, mild o.c.d tendencies, social anxieties, or just plain "well adjusted adults" that have lost touch with the pleasure principle.
This is a pretty Kafkaesk story. The only difference with Kafka being that the main character does not face a faceless authority, but a rather sick environment.
Un perturbador escaparate de seres desfigurados por la inmoralidad, la codicia, el apetito sexual,...
My absolute favourite book.
Looks intriguing.
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Hermann Ungar was a Bohemian writer (in the German language) and an officer in Czechoslovakia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His novels were influenced by expressionism and psychoanalysis. He was praised by Thomas Mann as a great writer.
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