Grim and colourful, eventful and devastating, Hans Pleschinski’s new novel is about the great and brilliant Gerhart Hauptmann, about love and hope, despair and fear. English sample translation available!
An old man – famous, a Nobel Prize-winner – is leaving a sanatorium with his wife, where both have sought rest and relaxation. They are accompanied to their train by a military escort. It’s March 1945, Dr Weidner’s sanatorium is in the recently devastated city of Dresden, and the train is headed east. Gerhart and Margarete Hauptmann are travelling back to Silesia, to Villa Wiesenstein, a magnificent estate in the Sudeten mountains. There, amid the enchantingly beautiful countryside, with a masseur and maid, butler and gardener, cook and secretary, they plan to live a luxurious life of the mind, despite the barbarism beyond.
But was it the right decision? Should they have stayed in the Third Reich at all? And at what cost? Will they and their entourage be left undisturbed now that Germany is gradually losing the war, and Russian and Polish troops and militias are drawing inexorably nearer? Now that old Silesia is falling apart?
Grim and colourful, eventful and devastating, Hans Pleschinski’s new novel is about the great and brilliant Gerhart Hauptmann, about love and hope, despair and fear. About the end of war, the loss of homeland, and the exodus of refugees. Drawing on previously unknown diary entries, Pleschinski brings this lost world and the work of Gerhart Hauptmann vividly to life. An overwhelmingly powerful novel – a story of genius, misguided love, and of a world bracing itself against collapse.
Hans Pleschinski, born in 1956, is a freelance author living in Munich. His novels include Leichtes Licht (C.H. Beck, 2005), Ludwigshöhe (C.H. Beck, 2008) and Königsallee (C.H. Beck, 2013), which became a bestseller. He has edited the letters of Madame de Pompadour, selections from the diary of Duke von Croÿ, and the memoirs of Else Sohn-Rethel. He has been awarded the Hannelore Greve Literature Prize (2006) and the Nicolas Born Prize (2008), among other honours, and in 2012 he was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France. In 2014 he was awarded the Literature Prize of the City of Munich and the Literature Prize of the Lower Rhein. Hans Pleschinski is a member of the Bavarian Academy of Arts.
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