21 Days of a Neurasthenic
Octave Mirbeau, author of the classic satires The Torture Garden and Diary of a Chambermaid (the latter filmed by both Jean Renoir and Luis Buñuel), wrote this scathing and uproarious novel on the very cusp of the twentieth century. Feeling that he's being driven mad by modern life, Georges Vasseur heads off for a rest cure. At a spa town, however, he encounters precisely those things he's been trying to escape: corrupt politicians, amnesiac coquettes, cheerfully sadistic killers, imperialist generals, and quack psychiatrists. Hypocrites are eternal, and not much has changed since Mirbeau wrote this acid portrait of his era.