Auto-da-Fé , Elias Canetti's only work of fiction, is a staggering achievement that puts him squarely in the ranks of major European writers such as Robert Musil and Hermann Broch. It is the story of Peter Kien, a scholarly recluse who lives among and for his great library. The destruction of Kien through the instrument of the illiterate, brutish housekeeper he marries constitutes the plot of the book. The best writers of our time have been concerned with the horror of the modern world--one thinks of Kafka, to whom Canetti has often been compared. But Auto-da-Fé stands as a completely original, unforgettable treatment of the modern predicament.