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An artist’s life, a pact with the devil, a novel about the dangerous illusions of the silver screen. 

G.W. Pabst, one of cinema’s greatest, perhaps the greatest director of his era: when the Nazis seized power he was filming in France, to escape the horrors of the new Germany he flees to Hollywood. But under the blinding California sun, the world-famous director suddenly looks like a nobody. Not even Greta Garbo, who he made famous, can help him. And thus, almost through no fault of his own, he finds himself back in his homeland of Austria, which is now called Ostmark. The returning family is confronted with the barbaric nature of the regime. But Goebbels, the minister of propaganda in Berlin, wants the film genius, he won’t take no for an answer and makes big promises. While Pabst still believes that he will be able to resist these advances, that he will not submit to any dictatorship other than art, he has already taken the first steps into a hopeless entanglement.

Daniel Kehlmann’s novel about art and power, beauty and barbarism is a triumph. Lichtspiel shows what literature is capable of. 


Agent: Peter Straus
Publisher: Rowohlt
Other Daniel Kehlmann Titles