Endpapers: A Family Story of Books, War, Escape and Home (Hardback)Alexander Wolff (author)
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In 2017, acclaimed journalist Alexander Wolff moved to Berlin to take up a long-deferred task: learning his family's history. His grandfather Kurt Wolff set up his own publishing firm in 1910 at the age of twenty-three, publishing Franz Kafka, Emile Zola, Anton Chekhov and others whose books would be burned by the Nazis. In 1933, Kurt and his wife Helen fled to France and Italy, and later to New York, where they would bring books including Doctor Zhivago, The Leopard and The Tin Drum to English-speaking readers.
Meanwhile, Kurt's son Niko, born from an earlier marriage, was left behind in Germany. Despite his Jewish heritage, he served in the German army and ended up in an prisoner of war camp before emigrating to the US in 1948. As Alexander gains a better understanding of his taciturn father's life, he finds secrets that never made it to America and is forced to confront his family's complex relationship with the Nazis.
This stunning account of a family navigating wartime and its aftershocks brilliantly evokes the perils, triumphs and secrets of history and exile.
Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 765 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 37 mm
as riveting as the fiction the Wolffs themselves have published, and deeply affecting. * Newsweek *
Alexander Wolff is keen, after a generation of silence, to follow the untold stories wherever they might lead. -- Claire Messud * Harpers Magazine *
Remarkable lives in extraordinary times - a gripping and exceptional literary journey. -- Philippe Sands
[A] poignant portrait...Wolff skillfully contextualizes his father and grandfather's tales with military and political history; details links between Merck and the Nazi regime; and uncovers family secrets, including the existence of his father's illegitimate half-brother. History buffs and literary enthusiasts will be rewarded * Publishers Weekly *
An astonishing, compelling, confronting story of a divided family, reaching sharply into the present. -- Tim Bonyhady, author of GOOD LIVING STREET
Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Endpapers, at its heart, is an absorbing family history. But it is so much more than that, a haunting exploration of guilt and responsibility, of roots and new beginnings. Filled with stunning literary details that any bibliophile will cherish, this is an intimate and complex portrait of a remarkable family that also tells a wider story of Europe and America in the twentieth century. Endpapers is a treasure - a brave and moving book. -- Ariana Neumann, author of WHEN TIME STOPPED
A powerfully told story of family, honor, love and truth, by a masterful writer who sees across the oceans and through the generations. In Endpapers we see the Wolff family through war and love, detention camps and immigration hearings, kindness and betrayal, occupying a world equal parts Casablanca and Kafka. It is engrossing and entertaining, a book of conscience and remembrance that tells the beautiful truth that so often those who contribute most to the culture and civic life of a place are the outcast and the refugee. -- Beto O'Rourke
Alexander Wolff - a writer of superb grace - traces a complex and compelling family history in this deeply absorbing narrative of high culture under threat, of political and moral violence, and the deep wish for what Wolff refers to as Heimkehr or 'homecoming.' Endpapers held me in its spell for days. -- Jay Parini, author of BORGES AND ME: AN ENCOUNTER
A stunning and brave book, deep and absorbing. I was enraptured by the story of Kurt, Niko and Alex as they moved through the crosswinds of the twentieth century, from Munich to Princeton, and into the modern world. -- David Maraniss, author of A GOOD AMERICAN FAMILY
In a compelling, frequently thrilling and - if you have an ear for the biting tone of Hitler's exiles - often hilarious book, Alexander Wolff combines biography, memoir and cultural history, rendering them indivisible, and making clear the uncanny and terrifying parallels between Kurt Wolff's day and ours. -- Anthony Heilbut, author of EXILED IN PARADISE and THOMAS MANN
[A] revelatory, riveting and deeply moving account of his family's involvement in Germany's recent history. -- Joshua Hammer * New York Review of Books *
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