Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth, and the Summer Before the Dark

Book - 2016
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"The true story of two of the twentieth century's great writers exiled from Nazi Germany to a Belgian seaside resort, and the world they built there: written with a novelist's eye for pacing, chronology, and language--a dazzling work of historical nonfiction. It's the summer of 1936, and the writer Stefan Zweig is in crisis. His German publisher no longer wants him, his marriage is collapsing, and his home in Austria has been seized. He's been dreaming of Ostend, the Belgian beach town--a paradise of promenades, parasols, and old friends. So he journeys there with his new lover, Lotte Altmann, and reunites with his semi-estranged fellow writer and close friend Joseph Roth, himself newly in love. For a moment, they create a fragile paradise. But as Europe begins to crumble around them, the writers find themselves trapped on vacation, in exile, watching the world burn. In Ostend, Volker Weidermann lyrically recounts "the summer before the dark," when a coterie of artists, intellectuals, drunks, revolutionaries, and madmen found themselves in limbo while Europe teetered on the edge of fascism and total war"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2016]
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9781101870266
Characteristics: 163 pages : illustration ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Janeway, Carol Brown - Translator


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Jul 08, 2018

These are fascinating characters--two very famous (Jewish European) writers--in a dramatic, gripping period of recent history: the rise of Hitler, and the coming horrors.
But after just 20 pages I see that all this deserves a far better writer, with a better imagination about how to make his plot unfold lest things plod along awkwardly.
Jean Echenoz would be my choice candidate.
I'll try another few pages, but the wooden treatment so far has been discouraging...

Jun 24, 2017

While this book evokes the atmosphere of German exiles in Ostend in the summer of 1936, it seems to simply skim the surface.

ser_library Jun 25, 2016

evokes the era and the people; excellent psychological study;
beautiful prose--the translation is excellent


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