Boys & Murderers is the first collection of novellas and stories in English translation from Hermann Ungar, author of the highly-acclaimed novel The Maimed. A writer of unique talent whose life was prematurely ended by illness, he was much admired by Thomas Mann, who prefaces this volume, and known as the "Moravian Dostoevsky" for his analysis of the human psyche. In fiction that is often grotesque and comical, Ungar explores the depravities of the heart and delusions of the mind. Taking Prague as well as his hometown of Boskovice for his settings, he can be located in that illustrious tradition of both Prague German writers (he was associated with Max Brod in the Prague Circle) and Jewish writers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, such as Joseph Roth.
Forgotten for decades, Ungar's work has experienced a renaissance over the past years with translations appearing in a number of languages and new editions appearing in German, which has allowed him to take his place among the greats of 20th-century European literature.
Hermann Ungar (1893-1929) was born to a prominent Jewish family in Boskovice, Moravia and studied at university in Berlin and Prague, where he later lived. He was wounded is the First World War and was awarded the Silver Medal of Valor. In 1920, after a stint as a dramaturge and actor at the Municipal Theatre in Cheb, he entered the Czechoslovak foreign service, becoming trade attach at the Czechoslovak embassy in Berlin. His first book, a volume of short stories that was highly praised by Thomas Mann, was published the same year. Called back to Prague in 1928, Ungar resigned from the service in 1929, several weeks before his death of acute appendicitis.