The Confession


Thirty-six year old Ferenc Kolyeszar, an Inspector for the People’s Militia, is struggling with the apathy felt by many in the socialist system. Also a novelist and family man, Ferenc must deal with the reality of 1956 Soviet rule, the faltering of his marriage, and the betrayal of coworkers. His artistic and literary friends give him refuge, but eventually become involved in his cases and in his quest for self understanding.

Steinhauer’s raw, minimalistic style complements his character’s reflections on sex, love, politics, and how fear relates to it all. The plot is complicated with several seemingly unrelated cases eventually converging on the same catalyst. The mystery aspect is at times overshadowed by the interpersonal relationships of the characters and the suspense of whether forgiveness is possible. Steinhauer shows how revenge, justice, and fear can push a man to the brink of despair, but yet not topple over due to an innate sense of survival and hope.

Although reading Steinhauer’s first Eastern European novel Bridge of Sighs is not required, it will help give insight into a bleak world that few who have not lived through such difficult times can comprehend. While not a particularly happy book, readers will find it satisfying, well written, and engaging.



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