The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt
Set in a small town in Switzerland, The Pledge centers around the murder of a young girl and the detective who promises the victim’s mother he will find the perpetrator. After deciding the wrong man has been arrested for the crime, the detective lays a trap for the real killer—with all the patience of a master fisherman. But cruel turns of plot conspire to make him pay dearly for his pledge. Here Friedrich Dürrenmatt conveys his brilliant ear for dialogue and a devastating sense of timing and suspense. Joel Agee’s skilled translation effectively captures the various voices in the original, as well as its chilling conclusion.
One of Dürrenmatt’s most diabolically imagined and constructed novels, The Pledge was adapted for the screen in 2000 in a film directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–1990) was a prolific Swiss dramatist, novelist, and essayist. HisSelected Writings, in three volumes, is also published by the University of Chicago Press.Joel Agee has translated numerous German authors into English. Sven Birkertsis the author of six books, including The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Ageand My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time. He is editor of the journalAGNI and teaches writing at Harvard University.