Books: In Extremis

THE LOSER by George Konrád Translated by Ivan Sanders; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 315 pages; $14.95

George Konrád's novels, each in its own harrowing way, have been maps of contemporary man's journeys to the end of the night. The Hungarian writer's first book, The Case Worker (1974), charted the descent of a compassionate social worker into the degradation and suffering of Communism's underclass. His second, more ideological novel, The City Builder (1978), explored the pathways to the Utopias that have led to police terror and violence. By then it was clear that Hungary's national...

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