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In great despair Los Angeles There Nelly committed suicide in 1944 and Heinrich dies in 1950 Prior to their death they formed a uniue cliue of friends in exile. Ambitious by turns captivating and exasperating this sprawling book is like an enormous photomontage that popular German art form of the 1920s made up of textual mosaics from newspaper articles diary entries letters novels or on occasion FBI files These bits words phrases entire paragraphs are usually unattributed and range from notes about literature and publishing to medication pets shopping for and preparing food Juers also mines the writing of non German writers including Virginia Woolf and James Joyce to contextualize the time and the refugees situation Both style and content are arresting and Juers has mined sources unavailable to the average English speaking reader But House of Exiles is a problematic work of biography and had I not been reviewing it I would have put it down long before the ending I was in the end glad to have plowed on The work is a reuiem for a lost generation of German artists musicians and writers and those that lived for them

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House of Exile

Crossing paths with the likes of Joyce Brecht Kafka Schwitters and Woolf House of Exile is a uniue work pioneering a new literary form the collective biograph. Interesting device juxtaposing contemporaneous writers Woolf Gide with the Manns

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In 1933 the prominent author and political activist Heinrich Mann and his partner Nelly Kroeger were forced to flee Germany finding refuge in France and later. I received a copy of this book through First Reads and I was excited to get my hands on it as the description sounded so interesting Sadly the book doesn t live up to its promise It claims to be biography but if it is it s biography seen through a kaleidoscope dimly The author describes it as a collective biography set in an age of fragmentation and flux If her intent was to convey that sense of fragmentation and flux she certainly achieved that much The book is a series of disjointed impressionistic vignettes not all of which seem to share any apparent connection There are literary uotes sprinkled in between anecdotes imaginings that may be lyrical and vivid but certainly aren t what is normally understood as biography I spent much of the book a bit confused as to what exactly was going on and when The inexplicable story of Solander early on before Carla s suicide is a good example Nominally connected to a skull Mann s sister carries with her it rambles on for several pages for no apparent reason Things got a little concrete and chronological after the first third or so of the book but not enough to make it an enjoyable read and certainly not enough for me to feel I learned much about Heinrich Mann or his unfortunate wife The words imagine and perhaps and let s say that s how it was are sprinkled liberally throughout not something I m used to seeing in such uantity in something that purports to be biography In the end I m not even sure what to call it fiction or non fiction novel or biography I feel like it s a muddle of all of the above and the only thing I can say with certainty is that I read it


10 thoughts on “House of Exile

  1. says:

    This is an interesting and mainly well written biography of Heinrich Mann Thomas Mann's brother and his wife Nelly Kroeger Mann It is primarily about their years of exile as Heinrich was outspoken about Hitler and they were forced to leave Germany in 1933 going first to France and then eventually to Los Angeles

  2. says:

    I’ve read any number of fictionalized biographies—about Henry James Friedrich Nietzsche etc—that I have uite enjoyed This book doesn’t know whether it is a novel or a biography—though it calls itself a biography and so doesn’t truly succeed at either I don’t get any real sense of Emma or Heinrich

  3. says:

    I received a copy of this book through First Reads and I was excited to get my hands on it as the description sounded so interesting Sadly the book doesn't live up to its promise It claims to be biography but if it is it's biography s

  4. says:

    Ambitious by turns captivating and exasperating this sprawling book is like an enormous photomontage – that popular German art form of the 1920s – made up of textual mosaics from newspaper articles diary ent

  5. says:

    Well researched Constructed in a most unusual manner with disparate passages long list of the names of European refugees dairy entries and long tracts of the thoughts of Virginia Wolfe The writing style whilst interesting does not engage the reader in a connection with the characters Its a bit like reading a very long list Good to have been the beneficiary of such extensive research and as a result to learn ab

  6. says:

    Haven't received my copy yet just received notice I had won 41612Receive my copy last night and can't wait to get started I will have to wait a little bit I have 8 others plus my current read in front 5212Started last night

  7. says:

    Interesting device juxtaposing contemporaneous writers Woolf Gide with the Manns

  8. says:

    As rich and dense as wedding cake and just as hard to digest in anything than the smallest portions House of Exile is acc

  9. says:

    An unusual biography as it follows the lives of two literary brothers Heinrich and Thomas Mann The former I hav

  10. says:

    I bought House of Exile when it was shortlisted for the 2009 Prime Minister’s Award for Non Fiction not knowing anything about its subject matter except that it was indirectly something to do with Thomas Mann He is one of those writers I’ve heard of but never got round to reading It turns out that he was the brother