‘Journey through the Night’ by Jakov Lind

This story is what I offer as proof that when I was a lad, it was only in fiction that people voluntarily made arrangements to be eaten by cannibals. The story features two men in a locked train compartment. One man is a cannibal with a suitcase full of butcher’s equipment. The other has been mistaken by the cannibal for a willing victim. I read this when I was about seven, by the way. Cheers, Dad. Re-reading it a century later, I see that behind the grotesquerie which I enjoyed (and still enjoy) are much more serious questions of collusion and coercion. There’s also the loaded fact that it’s set on a train. Throughout, Lind’s very black humour taunts the reader’s motives for continuing. Haneke territory.

(1962; now in Soul of Wood, NYRB Classics. Translated by Ralph Manheim.) 

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