From this tale's very beginning—the birth of the narrator's father in the middle of a bridge party—the reader is plunged headlong into a novel crowded with voices, characters, tragedy, and joy. The disintegration of history and identity in the 20th century is seen through the adventures of one family—half-Jewish Viennese, split apart by the Nazi invasion and sent out into the world. Dispensing with linear narrative, the story loops forwards and back to follow each member on their winding course. Their experiences encompass fraudsters, footballers, fools, and fur coats as the narrative moves from Austria to London and from Canada to the battlefields of Burma. This is a landmark European novel of impressive reach and power whose readership will spread as widely as the family whose story it tells.
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Eva Menasse was born in 1970 in Vienna. She had a successful career as a journalist, writing for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Frankfurt and as a correspondent from Prague to Berlin.Review:
"For this story of a half-Jewish, half-German clan Eve Menasse eschews linear narrative in favour of tales about the different members that weave into one another in a manner characteristic of shared family remembrance. And what characters they are... the mixture is enjoyably leavened with black humour." -- RACHAEL HORE THE GUARDIAN "Vienna by Eva Menasse is a disputatious saga that tracks the trials and tribulations of a Jewish-Austrian family during the 20th century." THE OBSERVER "set in a vividly imagined bourgeois Vienna, with it's bridge parties, tennis clubs, and an everyday anti-Semitism that's shocking in its casualness." TIME OUT "a remarkable achievement... the rewards are many and various." -- BARRY FORSHAW THE INDEPENDENT "Just when you thought there was nothing new to write about the Jewish experience during the Second World War comes a novel that turns convention on its head... Menasse teases out this generational paradox in a clever novel full of gentle humour, unpredictable twists and memorable characters." DAILY TELEGRAPH "delightfully told... surprising, funny and tragic. a character-led story fully of sparkling vignettes" YORKSHIRE EVENING POST "Vienna's early sections show the diverse nature of this adventure for these forced migrants... Eva Menasse's tone is often comic, but her theme is serious." TLS "a droll but unsettling take on the city's monster shadowed history, told through the escapades of a saltily eccentric part-Jewish clan." -- BOYD TONKIN THE INDEPENDENT
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