Author: Tadeusz Dolega-Mostowicz
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication Date: 15 September 2020 (1932)
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley
First published in Polish in 1932, The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma was Tadeusz Dolega-Mostowicz’s breakout novel. Dyzma is an unemployed clerk who crashes a swanky party, where he makes an offhand crass remark that sets him on a new course. Soon high society—from government ministers to drug-fueled aristocrats—wants a piece of him. As Dyzma’s status grows, his vulgarity is interpreted as authenticity and strength. He is unable to comprehend complicated political matters, but his cryptic responses are celebrated as wise introspection. His willingness to do anything to hold on to power—flip-flopping on political positions, inventing xenophobic plots, even having enemies assaulted—only leads to greater success.
The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma is a delightful, entertaining read. The biting political satire explores how even the most incompetent person can rise to a position of power through chance, misunderstandings and sheer bravado. Dyzma is an engaging character. You can't help but enjoy following his adventures, even if you cringe at their ramifications. The prose is easy reading, suggesting a sensitive translation from the Polish, and the story moved along at a good pace, with plenty of action and amusement along the way. An easy 4.5 stars from me.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.