- Publisher: Picador USA
- Format: Hardback | 319 pages
- Dimensions: 150mm x 213mm x 33mm | 272g
- Publication date: 7 January 2014
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 1250045789
- ISBN 13: 9781250045782
- Sales rank: 204,305
WITH A FOREWORD BY EDMUND DE WAAL, AUTHOR OF "THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES "SET IN THE ASHES OF POST-SECOND WORLD WAR VIENNA, A POWERFUL, SUBTLE NOVEL OF EXILES RETURNING HOME FIFTEEN YEARS AFTER FLEEING HITLER'S DEADLY REIGN Vienna is demolished by war, the city an alien landscape of ruined castles, a fractured ruling class, and people picking up the pieces. Elisabeth de Waal's mesmerizing "The Exiles Return" is a stunningly vivid postwar story of Austria's fallen aristocrats, unrepentant Nazis, and a culture degraded by violence. The novel follows a number of exiles, each returning under very different circumstances, who must come to terms with a city in painful recovery. There is Kuno Adler, a Jewish research scientist, who is tired of his unfulfilling existence in America; Theophil Kanakis, a wealthy Greek businessman, seeking to plunder some of the spoils of war; Marie-Theres, a brooding teenager, sent by her parents in hopes that the change of scene will shake her out of her funk; and Prince "Bimbo" Grein, a handsome young man with a title divested of all its social currency. With immaculate precision and sensitivity, de Waal, an exile herself, captures a city rebuilding and relearning its identity, and the people who have to do the same. Mesmerizing and tragic, de Waal has written a masterpiece of European literature, an artifact revealing a moment in our history, clear as a snapshot, but timeless as well.
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Elisabeth de Waal was born in Vienna in 1899. She studied philosophy, law, and economics at the University of Vienna, and completed her doctorate in 1923. She also wrote poems (often corresponding with Rilke), and was a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at Columbia. She wrote five unpublished novels, two in German and three in English, including "The Exiles Return" in the late 1950s. She died in 1991.
"There is a distinctly fin de siecle feel to Elisabeth de Waal's rediscovered novel about Viennese exiles, banished by war, streaming back to their native city in the mid-1950s." The Exiles Return" captures the atmosphere of post-World War II Vienna, with its crumbling buildings, decaying aristocracy, mercantile fervor and ideological denial. But its restrained prose style and preoccupation with the gap between public morality and private behavior evoke even more strongly the novels of Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy and other 19th-century masters...."The Exiles Return" is both an oddity and the bittersweet legacy of a gifted writer, melding the narrative pleasures of fiction with a vivid historical snapshot."--"The Chicago Tribune " "The Exiles Return has an immediacy that makes de Waal's readers feel the experiences of its characters in a visceral way....With the publication, after all these years, of The Exiles Return, we are allowed to hear a voice that has not only endured but, by the subtlety and fervor of its free expression, triumphed."--Andrew Ervin, " The New York Times Book Review """The Exiles Return" is, in a sense, a reverie about what it meant to return to postwar Vienna; a dream turned nightmare of a family wanting to recoup its wartime losses...."The Exiles Return," a novel of five exiles returning home after fleeing Hitler, is a masterpiece of European literature."--"The Buffalo News ""[The Exiles Return] succeeds magnificiently on its own uncompromising terms...And in holding up a uniquely wrought mirror to [de Waal's] Vienna."--"San Francisco Chronicle " "[An] incisive, and tragic tale of bombarded and morally decimated postwar Vienna....De Waal's acid, eyewitness drama of malignant prejudice, innocence betrayed, the disintegration of the old order, and love transcendent has the same jolting immediacy as the novels of Irene Nemirovsky as well as deeply archetypal dimensions."--"Booklist"