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Doctor Glas

Hjalmar Soderberg (Author)

The haunting tale of Doctor Glas takes place in Stockholm during the closing years of the 1800s. The doctor, a troubled and compassionate man, relates the strange story of the Reverend Gregorius and his pretty wife. Gregorius, an elderly and offensive pastor, has endangered her physical and mental health. She consults Doctor Glas, who for the first time violates the ethics of his profession and uses a highly unorthodox method of helping her. But when the wife takes a lover, and Doctor Glas becomes emotionally attached to her, an intolerable situation develops. The uxorious pastor dies, poisoned. The aftermath of his death and the doctor's unforeseen reactions to it bring the story to a chilling, horrifying close. Originally published in 1905, Doctor Glas is a novel of extraordinary immediacy and frankness. Its concerns - sexual incompatibility, abortion, euthanasia - together with its psychological insights, make it a remarkably modern work.

The Plague-spreader's Tale

Gesualdo Bufalino (Author)

In the last months of World War II, a young man with a fatal disease, straight out the army, is sent to a TB sanatorium near Palermo. It feels like a leper colony- people arrive, but never leave until they are dead, usually in a matter of months. Even the doctor has the illness in his cells. But the sap of life cannot be stopped from flowing.

The men's and women's wings of the sanatorium are strictly segregated, but there are permits to go into town for patients who have passed a screening; there are little boys to run lovers' errands; and there is human ingenuity. In the long, hot summer of 1946, at an evening of amateur theatricals organised by the doctor, our narrator falls in love with Marta, a young ballerina who has not lost her grace. But what sort of future can be expected of such a romance?

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