This is the final novel Chapek wrote in his life short before his protest starvation induced death (he still had little chance to survive the German invasion in Czechoslovakia being the 2nd on their enemy of the state list). The novel contains various people`s memories about some unsuccessful composer. One of them knew him at school, other was his teenage love, some other - a critic to whom he showed his work. From the first part we get a feeling that Foltaine was a talented but a bit disturbed person who could eventually achieve something great. His first girlfriend doesn`t like his bragging for his sexual experience (which doesn`t fit particulary well with his behaviour). But later we find out that Foltaine not only doesn`t become a great composer but that he also doesn`t achieve anything simply because he`s unable to compose a thing. He starts to compose an opera but in fact after he`s married a rich man`s daughter he pays different unsuccessful young musicians to write musical pieces for him and he just somehow binds them together thus achieving a monstrous creating that jumps from one style to another never really going anywhere. In addition to that Foltaine`s passion for a repututation of a bohemian and of a great lover only evolves when he gets older but in deed nobody really wants him, nobody really loves him and he dies after losing his mind completely. The novel itself ends quite abruptly for Chapek didn`t have enough time to finish it and the last chapter was written by a different person. At first I thought it was just a trick done by the author (I didn`t know that it was his last work), but it wasn`t. The novel got published posthumously and I guess it was more than worth being released. A very good book. My impression of Chapek`s work gets better and better once again.