A 50 year-old Swiss engineer on his way to South America to work on some turbines. He has a belief in progress, education, rational relationships between people. He has limited tolerance for self-indulgence, over-emotional behaviour, religious faith. Art & music he can tolerate if it is classic – nothing 20th century, except of course the technology.
His world-view takes a battering several times and he is plunged into a confrontation with the irrational. The characters and situations are surprisingly modern – there are only a few points where you remember the year is 1957. This is partly because he leads a high-tech life, flying from New York to Paris on business, renting cars, using his skills to help develop poorer countries. He is the epitome of the international modern man.
One chapter is set in Cuba. It was interesting to catch this glimpse of life before the revolution there, and to realise that Max Frisch had no idea what drastic turn history would take there.