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On the Edge of Reason

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  702 Ratings  ·  41 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 m ...more
Paperback, 182 pages
Published November 17th 1995 by New Directions (first published 1938)
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Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tony by: Caroline
Shelves: law, croation
Our first-person protagonist is unnamed. He's a Croation lawyer, working for a very politically connected businessman. Drunk at a party he's hosting, the businessman loudly brags about his killing of four men who were trying to break into his cellar to steal a liter of Riesling. Two he shot at the cellar door; the other two at the fence that led to safety. All were shot in the back. The incident happened thirty years before, but the businessman relishes the telling of his killing the four "mad d ...more
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

Faimoasa replică din filmul Network (1976) ar fi putut fi subtitlul acestei cărţi deştepte şi oarecum incomode. Incomode pentru că ne forţează să deschidem ochii, să vedem (nu doar să privim) lumea şi societatea din jurul nostru exact aşa cum este: superficială, egoistă, falsă şi strâmbă... într-un cuvânt, defectă. O maşinărie defectă care o va lua razna în momentul în care cineva, "un burghez mediocru şi jobenat", va îndrăzni să exprim
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
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca Duncan
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Maja Shinigami
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, prose, classics
Krleža živi vječno.
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knjižnica, classic
Žalosno je da se društvo u oslikano u ovom romanu objavljenom između dva svjetska ni najmanje nije promijenilo ni danas. Gdje se dvolične osobe, lažni dobročinitelji, mecene i domoljubi veličaju kao moralne vertikale i suci društva. Lik Domaćinskog i danas je odraz velikog broja "cilindraške" kaste u Hrvatskoj.
Neshvatljivo mi je da ovakvo djelo nije uvršteno kao obvezna lektira u srednjim školama.

"Svi krivotvore potpise na mjenicama, svi primaju mito da ne bi govorili istinu, svi kradu i varaj
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Teško je govoriti o najboljem romanu, no u hrvatskoj književnosti još nisam pročitao nešto ovako dobro. Krleža je definitivno pokazao zašto je najveći hrvatski pisac. Očit je Krležin utjecaj na velikoga češko-francuskog romanopisca - Milana Kunderu, naročito na njegov roman "Šala". "Na rubu pameti" je roman o sukobu pojedinca i društva u kojem se kritizira država nakon 1. Svj. rata i uhljeba koji su došli na vlast, s obzirom na to, ovaj roman aktualan je i danas. Krleža daje prostora svome intel ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, hrvatsko
Krleža at his best: the long, voluptuous sentences, aphorisms about human stupidity, cool,foreign names of characters, and an almost dostoevskian sense of scandal
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Krleza je slobodno mogao napisati potpuno istu knjigu u 2016, briljantan kao i uvijek, uz nekoliko mi manje dragih dijelova jos uvijek jako citljivo stivo. Za ljubitelje Krleze must read :)
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ex-yu
Najteže mi pada što je ova oknjiga objavljena 1938, a apsolutno aktuelna danas. Ništa nismo naučili.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this day and age like I've mentioned to many afore, we need to relearn the true definition of opinions and how everyone has a right to state them. Sadly sometimes the mass-impressions given remain in the hearts of men based on societal perceptions however wayward.

The questions I raise however, are worldly ones-not of the plain statements of individuals.

a.) Is slander ever justified?
b.) Is it moral for people to be crucified based on assumptions or ill-conceived misconceptions founded upon
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
A satire or two has come out in recent years that didn't make much sense at all to me, and On the Edge is a better book than other satires I've read recently. This guy has the nerve to say something he's really thinking: he rightly criticizes a man who is bragging about having shot 4 would-be burglars as they fled. So the protagonist started with my sympathy. And everything that happens to him after that is surreal but somewhat plausible, as social commentary. It works.

But the main character is
Goran Markov
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Toby Newton
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Warm flesh wrapped up in cloth and isolated from nature is set up on its hind legs in church, in the courtroom, on the stage, in the pulpit, in the chair, in pissoirs, in inns, in barracks."

That sentence will either do it for you - fantastically well - or it won't. If it doesn't, you won't get much (anything) from this book. Except, perhaps, fury. If it does, On the Edge of Reason will take pride of place amongst your top ten (fifteen, twenty, whaddever) of all time ...

"The wretched human fles
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Con un estilo más ligero que otros libros suyos pero con el mismo pesimismo sobre la condición humana de siempre, Krleža lleva al absurdo la reacción de la sociedad ante las palabras de un abogado que decide decir la verdad sobre la conducta criminal del ciudadano ejemplar de la ciudad, que también es su jefe.

El autor croata deja detalles de reflexiones muy interesantes sobre el ser humano y la sociedad, y ya en 1938, año de la publicación del libro, deja ver las locuras que Europa padecía por
Mark Lisac
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A heroic blend of humour, philosophy, social criticism, despair and hope. The story sees a successful man in a somewhat warped and provincial society accidentally let out a few words based on integrity rather than on getting along with the crowd. He then pays a steep price for sticking with his accidental choice and building on it rather than recanting. It's a dangerous road: how can any lone person know if he's being moral or being mad? The blend of directness and a sort of rude eloquence seems ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"On the Edge of Reason" encompasses both a satire to an ignorant provincial elite and a kafkaesque drama. The narrator and main character faces the hostility of a whole hypocrite society after denouncing the murderous personality of the rich entrepreneur Domacinski. The narrator is vilified and reduced to an enemy of the people as he faces slander and mock-trials.

This book was written in 1930s but its themes and characters are common to 2010s - false moralists, ministers who embezzle while claim
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Croatian the trial-like existentialism at its best. Scattered narration with philosophical essays containing not so subtle political and social views - explaining why it took 16 years since the first edition for the second one to be published.

Don't know what the translations are like, but the original signature 'Krleža's sentences' and the discourse in which it's kind of hard to discern whether the protagonist is really a fair, smart outcast or if he (also) has a crazy side to him make it a joy
Ivan Pašalić
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Nancy M. Hayes
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"... 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.
Graeme Purves
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
In pre-War Zagreb, polite society is scandalised when the protagonist casually describes a leading businessman and public figure of being a morally insane bandit and murderer. This indiscretion leads to him being disowned by his wife, rebuked or shunned by former associates, convicted of slander and then imprisoned. However, aspects of his narrative leave room for doubt as to how far we can rely upon its accuracy.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
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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.
More about Miroslav Krleža...

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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.” 38 likes
“Istina je: bio sam prilično sam ali osamljenost još uvijek nije dokaz da čovjek nema pravo” 23 likes
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