Book Review: Scarred Hearts by Max Blecher

Scarred Hearts, one of the few published works by Max Blecher, is a novel of pain and suffering. The author, who lived most of his life under the auspices of a dreadful disease, died at the age of 29. But even though this is a novel in which the characters live under the constant threat of death, even though their lives are bitter and painful, his little characters find enough strength to fall in love, to mold the most human of feelings and experiences after their own needs.

Emanuel, Blecher’s main character, and the other characters that inhabit this novel, are screaming with life, almost exploding with a sort of giddy joy and carelessness that is disconcerting, if we take into account the fact that they’re all very, very sick.

In one way, this reminds us of the saying that people are most alive just before they die. A novel with a theme that only Blecher could have tackled, with exotic characters reunited under the stigma of disease and paralysis.

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