Author(s): Volker Weidermann
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 house in Austria searched by the police two years earlier no longer feels like home. He s been dreaming of Ostend, the Belgian beach town that is a paradise of promenades, parasols, and old friends. So he journeys there with his lover, Lotte Altmann, and reunites with fellow writer and semi-estranged close friend Joseph Roth, who is himself about to fall in love. For a moment, they create a fragile haven. 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. "Ostend" is the true story of two of the twentieth century s great writers, written with a novelist s eye for pacing, chronology, and language a dazzling work of historical nonfiction. (Translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway)"
This biography about Austrian writer Stefan Zweig is succint and very engaging. Author Volker Weidermann does a brilliant job of evoking late 1930's Europe, on the verge of war. Ostend examines the friendship of Zweig and fellow writer, Joseph Roth. The two men had a complicated friendship, Roth was rather tortured while Zweig was at the height of his success. Zweig is an interesting figure, one of the most popular European writers of the early 20th Century, he fell from favour, but is now being reevalated by biographers, publishers and readers alike.
Nick The Book Grocer
VOLKER WEIDERMANN, born in Darmstadt in 1969, studied politics and German studies in Heidelberg and Berlin. He began his career as a culture journalist before serving as literary director and editor of the Sunday edition of "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung." He is currently a writer and editor covering literature for "Der Spiegel." Weidermann received the Kurt Tucholsky Prize for Literary Journalism for "Buch der verbrannten Bucher (The Book of Burned Books) "and is the author of several works of literary history and critical biography."