George Prochnik blends history, philosophy, and memoir with exemplary panache in this fascinating account of an intellectual and spiritual journey. But he never loses sight of the essential questions: How are we to live? And in what kind of world?
What a wonderful book this is: gripping, illuminating, beautifully constructed, and full of the communicative energy that comes from things long in gestation but written with fire and speed... The extraordinary affinities between author and subject give the book an emotional intensity that complements its erudition and lends power to its final, audacious, inspiring claim on the reader's capacity for hope
From the Same Author
The Impossible Exile
By the 1930s, Stefan Zweig, born to an affluent Jewish family in Vienna, had become the most widely translated living author in the world. His novels, short stories, and biographies became instant bestsellers, and his cultural patronage, his generosity, and his literary connections, were legendary. In 1934, following Hitler’s rise to power, Zweig left Vienna for England, then New York, and, finally, Petrópolis, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. With the destruction of the cultural milieu of pre-Nazi Europe, Zweig’s life in exile became increasingly isolated. In 1942 he and his wife, Lotte Altmann, were found dead. They had committed suicide, just after Zweig had completed his famous autobiography, The World of Yesterday.
The Impossible Exile tells the mesmerizing and tragic story of Zweig’s extraordinary rise and fall, the gulf between the world of ideas in Europe and in America, and the alienation of the refugees forced into exile. Zweig embodied and witnessed the end of an era: the great Central European civilization of Vienna and Berlin.