*Central Europe. Apparent location of most of the novel’s episodes. A whitewashed village in an unnamed country appears to indicate backwardness and remoteness from twentieth century city life. From here, the anonymous narrator travels to the unnamed capital city of the country, where he impresses his rustic girlfriend with his credit card. The coexistence of two places in one country, in which life seems a century apart, creates the dramatic tension of the opening episode.
In a landscape characterized by dark, remote forests and isolated, backward villages, the protagonist encounters humans whose meager and harsh surroundings have rendered them particularly vicious. Sexual exploitation and abuse is rampant, as if humans react to a sullen environment with nothing but sexual depravity of their own. Because the places where they dwell appear cut off from the rest of the world, it is as if worldly civility and morality has not reached them there, either.
On the way to an airport to leave his native country to fly to America, the narrator feels a kind of existentialist nausea when he realizes that the place where he has spent twenty-four years of his life means nothing to him. He is saddened by the fact that the landmarks of his native city stir up no emotions in him. Place fails to create nostalgia in the protagonist. He moves from location to location without any attachment to his surroundings.
Volcanic island. Located in what appears to be the Greek Mediterranean, the island is chosen to make the protagonist a complete outsider. The place literally illustrates humanity’s essential alienation, which is a key idea of the philosophy of existentialism. Here,...
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