Viennese Romance [Hebrew edition: Lilach Nethanel & Youval Shimoni, from the manuscript]
Literary Israel is abuzz with the discovery of this previously unsuspected novel, recently found in an archive a hundred years after it was written. Although Vogel wrote in Hebrew, he lived most of his adult life in Vienna and Paris, and his novels are essentially Central European, belonging to the group that included Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Franz Werfel and Joseph Roth. Like Married Life, which established Vogel as a major writer, Viennese Romance reflects the obsessive-destructive loves and the pervasive decadence of the time. Michael Rost, an 18-year-old Jewish youth hungry for experience comes to Vienna and forms passing relationships with everyone who crosses his path: whores, revolutionaries, paupers, army officers and rich men who frequent cabarets and gambling dens. When Peter Dean, a shady businessman, takes the penniless Rost under his wing, he rents a room in the home of an affluent bourgeois family. He is seduced by the lady of the house, Gertrude, while her husband is away on business, and shortly after starts an affair with her 16-year-old daughter as well. This love triangle threatens to destroy the entire family, but when the master of the house returns home, Rost is forced to move out. In his new lodgings, his loneliness, his nocturnal wanderings and casual romantic encounters become second nature. Some twenty years later he moves to Paris, drifts around between prostitutes and occasional love affairs, impoverished by gambling yet unable to find a home. Like in the work of Vogel’s contemporaries, Rost reflects the tortured relationship between cosmopolitan Jewish intellectuals and early 20th century Europe.
A fascinating and important Hebrew text, even compared to Vogel's great fictional achievements – Married Life and Facing the Sea…
Vogel's skill lies in transforming existential sadness into an exciting, moving literary work.
Vogel’s prose immediately captivates the reader… [He creates] a situation that depicts the Zeitgeist of that time and place… In this, Vogel’s writing achieves perfection… The figure of Michael Rost, in perpetual conflict, makes him continually unexpected. A very beautiful novel.
Reading this novel is thrilling and enjoyable from beginning to end… Vogel’s talent for description and his ability, in a few words, to create scorned yet pitiful characters, is no less than fantastic.
The fact that this book has only recently been discovered adds to the wonder of it... A combination of Bashevis Singer and Shalom Aleichem, with occasional insights à la Herman Hesse.
|Title|| ||Viennese Romance [Hebrew edition: Lilach Nethanel & Youval Shimoni, from the manuscript] |
|Author’s Last Name|| ||Vogel|
|Author's First Name|| ||David |
|Language(s)|| ||English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Turkish|
|Publisher (Hebrew)|| ||Am Oved|
|Year of Publication (Hebrew)|| ||2012|
|No. Pages|| ||278 pp.|
|Book title - Hebrew (phonetic)|| ||Roman Vinaʹi|
|Representation|| ||Not Represented by ITHL|
English: Sydney, Scribe, 2013
German: Berlin, Aufbau, 2013; pback: 2015; ebook: 2017; 2017
Spanish: Barcelona, Minuscula, 2013
Italian: Florence, Giuntina, 2014
Dutch: Amsterdam, Atheneum, 2014
Turkish: Istanbul, Yapi Kredi, 2015
French: Paris, Ed. de l"Olivier, 2014; Montréal, Vues & voix, 2015