In this final volume of Broch's acclaimed Sleepwalkers trilogy, 30 years have passed since the events of The Romantic took place, and Joachim is now the commandant of Kur-Trier, in the final years of the Great War. Making his escape to the little town is Wilhelm Huguenau, a deserter and a ruthless exploiter, who finds himself in the newspaper office of August Esch. At first Huguenau and Esch become business partners, but Esch soon becomes something far worse - his victim. The Realist paints a chilling portrait of the disintegration of moral values not only of the time it depicts but also of the time it was written.
'With unerrign precision Broch finds the fault lines that run from the late nineteenth century into our calamitous age.'