Count Luna

Count Luna

By Alexander Lernet-Holenia
192 pages
August 2020


At once a chase novel, black comedy, and softly keening death song, Count Luna starts off at a gallop and accelerates into warp speed

At the start of WWII, Alexander Jessiersky, an Austrian aristocrat, heads a great Viennese shipping company. He detests the Nazis, and when his board of directors asks him to go along with confiscating a neighbor’s large parcel of land for their thriving wartime business, Jessiersky refuses. Yet, without his knowledge, the board succeeds in sending the owner of the land, a certain Count Luna, to a Nazi concentration camp on a trumped-up charge.
Years later the war is over, but after a series of mysterious events, Jessiersky, deeply paranoid, becomes convinced that Count Luna has survived and seeks vengeance; driven to kill the source of his dread, he decides to hunt down Luna―and his years-long chase

“Daunting panache, fast-moving, cleverly convoluted, terrific.”
- Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

“Austrian writer Lernet-Holenia (Mona Lisa, 1897–1976) addresses guilt over WWII in this masterly novel, originally published in 1955....Lernet-Holenia’s dark humor propels the narrative, and Jessiersky’s obsession is expertly handled, leading to a wholly unexpected conclusion. Driven by intense psychological descriptions, this tale of inaction against injustice has aged quite well.”
- Publishers Weekly (starred)

“In Count Luna, an industrialist inadvertently responsible for sending a man to a concentration camp feels certain that the fellow survived the war and is mounting a shadowy campaign of revenge. Like Kafka, whom he otherwise does not resemble, Lernet-Holenia weaves his most intimate hopes and dreams into the texture of what happens next with exquisitely imagined detail.”
- The Chicago Tribune

“Brilliant, extra stylish, excellently written and fearsomely gripping.”
- The London Times