There was a time when the family Künstler lived in the fairy-tale city of Vienna. Circumstances transformed that fairy tale into a nightmare, and in 1939 the Künstlers found their way out of Vienna and into a new fairy tale: Los Angeles, California, United States of America.For years Mamie Künstler, ninety-three-years-old, as clever and glamorous as ever, has lived happily in her bungalow in Venice, California with her inscrutable housekeeper and her gigantic St. Bernard dog. Their tranquility is upended when Mamie's grandson, Julian, arrives from New York City. Like many a twenty-something, he has come to seek his fortune in Hollywood. But it is 2020, the global pandemic sweeps in, and Julian's short visit suddenly has no end in sight. Mamie was only eleven when the Künstlers escaped Vienna in 1939. They made their way, stunned and overwhelmed, to sunny, surreal Los Angeles where they joined a colony of distinguished Jewish musicians, writers and intellectuals also escaping Hitler. Now, faced with months of lockdown and a willing listener, Mamie begins to tell Julian the buried stories of her early years in Los Angeles: her escapades with eminent émigrés like Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood, Thomas Mann. Oh, and Greta Garbo. While the pandemic cuts Julian off from the life he knows, Mamie's tales open up a world of lives that came before him. They reveal to him just how much the past holds of the future.
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Size: 9.60h x 6.33w x 1.10d
Library Journal Prepub Alert 10/01/2022 pg. 4
Kirkus Reviews 01/15/2023
Publishers Weekly 01/30/2023
Booklist 03/01/2023 pg. 25
Shelf Awareness 03/24/2023
About the Author
Cathleen Schine is the author of The Grammarians, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, and the New York Times Book Review. She lives in Los Angeles
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