I was introduced to Maria Szepes by a friend of mine and I could not be more thankful for the gift. Even though her work is translated into English (from Hungarian), none of the beauty is lost. The Red Lion is one of the most influential books I’ve read as an adult.
The Red Lion was written in 1946 and was considered nonconformist. The book was ordered to be destroyed but a librarian saved four copies and supporters of the novel typed copies to preserve it in underground communities before reaching a larger German publisher in 1984.
The story follows a man obsessed with alchemy and his reckless possession of the Elixir of Life. I felt as though every sentence was an example of perfection, the plot unreasonably profound, and the first book that truly frightened me psychologically. It’s extremely intellectual and requires slow, thoughtful reading but is not short on excitement. The reader progresses with Hans Burgner and the outstanding build of an alchemist’s philosophy, only to end in an eye-opened view of our world.
(One of my) Favorite Excerpt(s):
“He created a masterpiece, an apparently irrefutable theory that denied the existence of his own soul. Thus he closed the third eye, the spiritual sight, from the world of men. To replace this seeing eye, man developed the central brain, which acts like the groping finger of the blind.”
Copies are hard to come by, so search consignment/used bookstores or have a go on Amazon. It will be worth your time. I promise.