God did not want people to live in the alpine village of Eschberg. Their living there was blighted, their lives crippled, their hope lost, their love denied. Horror repeatedly visited them, fire destroyed them. They themselves acted cruelly, exploitatively, rapaciously, and maliciously. In this medieval vulgar world, life defaults to the malignant rather than to the benign. Even the improbable redemptive gift of music bestowed on Elias Johannes Alder, though acclaimed beyond Eschberg, is doomed within Eschberg.
Robert Schneider very powerfully creates this malignant world and raises the question of why our world should be otherwise, should be willed by some God to be more often good than it is awful?