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House of Exile

352 pages
Paperback, 23.5 x 15.5 cm
Published October 2008
ISBN 9781920882440

House of Exile

The Life and Times of Heinrich Mann & Nelly Kroeger-MannEvelyn Juers

Winner, Prime Minister’s Literary Award

In 1933 the author and activist Heinrich Mann and his partner Nelly Kroeger fled Nazi Germany, finding refuge first in the south of France and later, in great despair, in Los Angeles, where Nelly committed suicide in 1944 and Heinrich died in 1950.

Born into a wealthy middle class family in Lübeck, Heinrich was one of the leading representatives of Weimar culture; Nelly was twenty seven years younger, the adopted daughter of a fisherman, and a hostess in a Berlin bar. As far as his family was concerned, she was from the wrong side of the tracks.

Their story is crossed by others from their circle, including Heinrich’s brother Thomas Mann, his sister Carla, their friends Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, and Joseph Roth,and beyond them, the writers Egon Kisch, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Virginia Woolf and Nettie Palmer.

In train compartments, ship’s cabins and rented rooms, they called upon what was left to them — their bodies, their minds, their books — and amidst the debris of an era of self-destruction, built their own annexes to the House of Exile.

About the Author

Evelyn Juers

Evelyn Juers’ collective biography House of Exile: The Life and Times of Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger-Mann won the 2009 Prime Minister’s Award for Non Fiction, and has been published in the US, UK, France, Spain and Italy.

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Reviews

House of Exile is an extraordinary book, and a really rare accomplishment…It’s a very personal book: idiosyncratic, a little wandering, and finally scintillating and rather magical and a triumph…A third of the way into her book, with Hitler in power, and exile the order of the day, Juers evolves a different method. She has largely assembled her personnel by now; she confines herself to giving updates, going from one to another in strictly chronological order, each chapter is a calendar year, and this is where her book…really comes into its own, so that I would wish it many thousands of readers…It is amazing how those years, and those people, and those dramas all live in her pages.

Michael Hofmann, TLS
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