'Casanovas Heimfahrt' is one of Schnitzler's longest pieces and portrays an aging Casanova, still with many of the desires but with fewer of the advantages of youth. Vaguely based on the final years of the figure, the author portrays a handful of days of an impoverished and homesick Casanova, yearning for both a pardon from his native Venice and something young to entertain him enroute.
In Mantova he perchance comes across a friend of old, who believes owing him a debt of gratitude - something the wily seducer is more than happy to accept in his current state. Once installed at the friend's estate his passions are inflamed by a young beauty, which he is completely besotted by.
The rest is simply an attempt of an old man to get what he desires, irrespective of consequences. This is at the same time disturbing and fascinating to observe.
I find Schnitzler did an excellent job of portraying the cunning and drive of an older person on a mission - both of which are necessary to success once youth runs its course.
The book is quite densely written and not nearly as lighthearted as his more famous Reigen (German Edition)
(La Ronde (Drama Classics)
for the English speakers). It also requires a very solid knowledge of German to be attempted in the original (a translation - Casanova's Homecoming
- is also available in the Kindle format) but is not written in dialect, so at least easier in that aspect.
While the format (the book is composed of more or less a single stretch, with no chapters or other separation) requires real concentration the author makes excellent use of the language. The book will perhaps not be an easy read but a pleasure nevertheless.