It’s the summer time of 1936, and the author Stefan Zweig is in challenge. His German writer now not wishes him, his marriage is collapsing, and his apartment in Austria—searched via the police years earlier—no longer appears like domestic. He’s been dreaming of Ostend, the Belgian seashore city that could be a paradise of promenades, parasols, and previous acquaintances. So he trips there along with his lover, Lotte Altmann, and reunites with fellow author and semi-estranged shut good friend Joseph Roth, who's himself approximately to fall in love. For a second, they convey a delicate haven. yet as Europe starts off to fall apart round them, the writers locate themselves trapped on holiday, in exile, looking at the area burn. In Ostend, Volker Weidermann lyrically recounts “the summer time ahead of the dark,” whilst a coterie of artists, intellectuals, drunks, revolutionaries, and madmen came upon themselves in limbo whereas Europe teetered at the fringe of fascism and overall war.
Ostend is the real tale of 2 of the 20 th century’s nice writers, written with a novelist’s eye for pacing, chronology, and language—a extraordinary paintings of ancient nonfiction.
(Translated from the German by means of Carol Brown Janeway)
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Additional info for Ostend: Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth, and the Summer Before the Dark
Even suicide as a sign leaves this international detached. No, the identify of Stefan Lux will ideally no longer be pointed out this summer time. issues are relatively varied as regards Etkar André. The Communists particularly, and Kisch such a lot quite, were heavily following the reporting on his trial. André is a Communist, born in Aachen in 1894; then, after his father’s early dying, he used to be raised in an orphanage in Belgium. within the Weimar Republic he used to be a member of Ernst Thaelmann’s*1 closest circle and a much-loved chief of the staff in Hamburg. After the Reichstag hearth he used to be arrested, similar to Kisch. yet not like Kisch, he remained less than arrest and nonetheless is. The cost: excessive treason and tried homicide of an SA guy in Hamburg. The evidence is laughably skinny. furthermore, a variety of overseas newshounds are already within the nation just before the Olympics, and they're following the trial attentively and reporting on it largely. nobody right here in Ostend had anticipated his conviction. The demise sentence shocks all of them. the instant after they listen notice of the sentence is a kind of occasions while all cynicism and all inner rivalries are stilled. As they have been after the demise of Stefan Lux. it's in moments like those that the émigrés are absolutely conscious of their powerlessness and the all-powerfulness in their enemies. White-faced hatred and worry and the wish for eventual revenge are the most important feelings of the refugees. they've got all learn Etkar André’s ultimate phrases to the courtroom. The pathos, the delight, the self-assuredness of a believer who is familiar with himself to be blameless. “Your honor isn't my honor, for we're divided through our worldviews, divided through classification, divided by way of an abyss. when you are going to make the very unlikely attainable right here and ship an blameless guy to the block, then i'm able to stroll that arduous highway. i need no mercy! i've got lived as a fighter, and that i will die as a fighter, and my final phrases may be: ‘Long reside Communism! ’ ” what's there to claim? None of them doubts that the sentence may be performed. simply as none of them doubts, deep down, that every thing goes to finish badly. the one factor isn't really to teach despondency. Defeatism is a criminal offense right here on the shore. It’s larger to whinge round jointly. The later the night, the better the sniping, the laughter, and the mockery. Of Klaus Mann, for instance. great that he’s now not the following for as soon as. That assertion of his new novel within the Pariser Tageszeitung! Kesten is beside himself with laughter: the editors had introduced the prepublication excerpt of Mephisto within the factor of June 20. the total exile neighborhood had already identified that Mann was once writing a singular within which he used to be portraying his former brother-in-law Gustav Gruendgens in just veiled phrases because the prototypical opportunist of the current day. however the book’s declaration via the Tageszeitung less than the heading “Roman à Clef,” with the identify Gustav Gruendgens helpfully provided because the key in query, was once a true embarrassment. And that Klaus Mann, advised on by means of his good friend and writer Fritz Landshoff, then inflated the embarrassment to huge, immense proportions by means of sending a telegram flatly denying this, is the set off for his or her common derision and scorn.