With his otherworldly expression, kindly smile and outlandish robes, the Anderer is an enigma. A flamboyant artist who comes to the village to draw its inhabitants, he stands in for all strangers, for the unknown in all its guises. His drawings see into the villagers' souls, it is said. While some think he is the Devil, there are also suggestions that he is Christ, the scapegoat who has to be killed to redeem men's sins. Claudel seems content to let his true identity, like so much else in this excellent novel, remain on the edge of understanding.