Friday, 24 January 2020

Bookish Déjà-Vu: Vienna by Eva Menasse

Austria in the 1930s was no bed of roses. Neither people, nor economy had fully recovered from World War One and its aftermaths, when the Great Depression pushed people back into misery and despair. Many destitute gladly accepted the Jewish scapegoat offered to them eloquently by know-all busybodies. In Germany, Hitler and his National Socialists took advantage of the general feeling to be elected into Parliament and to shape the country according to their ideas – dictatorship, holocaust and war included. In Austria, a declaredly Christian Austrofascist regime seized power in an attempt to ward off National Socialism, but Germany annexed the country in March 1938 and turned upside-down the lives retold in Vienna by Eva Menasse, another one of my bookish déjà-vus. The novelised seventy years of true family history begin with the birth of the author’s father to a mixed Catholic-Jewish couple in the Austrian capital in spring 1930…
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