The Tyrant

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A haunting work, reminiscent of Albert Camus, which portrays with exquisite psychological detail the emotional crisis in the life of a young Swiss schoolteacher. His father's prodigious vitality and virility had crushed his family and ruined his son's childhood. Even after his death the parental ogre haunts his son, sucking him into a vortex of despair. Fits with the contemporary success of autobiographical novels, focused on a tormented childhood, parental persecution and the loneliness of the outlier. Chessex's book is based on the character of his own father, his totalitarian and austere Calvinist upbringing and his escape to the sensual world of serial seduction. These motifs and the meditation on death have informed most of his fiction, especially The Tyrant , his most successful book by far with 450,000 copies sold.