Along the way from this first secret to the lastthe final revelation that brings the story full circlevan der Jagt leads us past a hilarious grotesque of characters: his stepmother Eleonore, author of the best-selling How Old Women Can Get Rich; Otto, the Dry Cleaning King of Vienna and the man who holds the key to Marek's past; the nubile and willing Luxemburgers Andrea and Milena, who uncover Marek's own darkest secret; Professor Hirschfeld, the collector of criminal dreams; Dr. Ahorn, the plastic surgeon without solutions; and, last but not least, Marek's own promiscuous mother, who "lived to elicit desire, the way other people live for their children, or to become millionaires..."
Marek's efforts to outdo his mother's romantic exploits are rewarded in unexpected fashion. The Story of My Baldness is fresh and funnyneurotically, claustrophobically funny. In it, van der Jagt uses Vienna the way Kafka used Pragueas the (strangely familiar) landscape where the narrator's obsessions are given free rein.
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After all, his extraordinary, mad mother dies when Marek is just 18, under circumstances that might darken the vision of any young man, let alone that of the sensitive Marek, who, it seems, turns to the study of philosophy, though not quite leaving life behind.| Read Full Review of The Story of My Baldness