- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
Farewell, Shanghai: A Novelby Angel Wagenstein
Synopses & Reviews
The unforgettable novel of nearly forgotten refugees who fled Nazi Germany, and discovered the glamour and excess of Shanghai.
Elisabeth and Theodore Weissberg, famous musicians, Hilde, a young film extra, and Vladek, an Eastern European adventurer wanted by the police on political charges, flee Nazi Germany for Shanghai at the onset of World War II. A magnet for every human ambition and vice, Shanghai is a city of extremes--of dazzling wealth and wretched poverty, suffering and pleasure, and, for the four refugees, exile and safety. There, they enter the world of Jewish refugees, many of them artists and intellectuals, who must either starve or eke out an impoverished and sometimes degraded living, but they are determined to live intelligently, upholding the high culture, humor, and even, insofar as they can, the elegance of their former lives. Master storyteller Angel Wagenstein crafts an intense narrative of life and death, passionate love, and profound courage against the backdrop of the war and the millions of lives caught up in it.
"Moving effortlessly from Paris to Dresden to Shanghai, Wagenstein (Isaac's Torah) masterfully chronicles the lives of European migrs and refugees in WWII Shanghai. The cast of this ensemble novel is large. Elisabeth and Theodore Weissberg, a German mezzo-soprano and her German-Jewish virtuoso violinist husband, flee Dresden to eke out an existence in Shanghai's burgeoning Jewish ghetto, which ends up 30,000 strong as the Shoah begins. Hilde Braun, a German-Jewish actress, is living illegally in Paris aided by a mysterious Slav named Vladek, until events force them, separately, to Shanghai. Istvan Keleti, a homosexual Hungarian musician and drug-user, and Gertrude von Dammbach, a former call-girl-turned-baroness, are also among the persecuted and displaced, some of whom work with the Resistance to undermine Hitler. Wagenstein is impressive in his ability to move from the small details of individual displaced lives to a larger panorama of international intrigue: there's a telling subplot about tensions between the Japanese, who occupy Shanghai, and the Germans, with whom they've formed an uneasy alliance; another revealing thread concerns the loyalties of Chinese Catholic nuns. Wagenstein brings to life a largely unknown chapter of Nazi persecution." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Wagenstein intelligently interweaves the voices of several characters, whose common thread is their desire to live in safety. Winner of the 2004 Jean Monnet Award, this novel sheds light on a forgotten part of history that is only now becoming known. Recommended." Library Journal
"Part history lesson, part potboiler....A patchy combination of terrible truth and predictable romance that falls short of the tragic impact the real story deserves." Kirkus Reviews
This unforgettable novel follows four refugees who flee Nazi Germany and discover the glamour and excess of Shanghai. Master storyteller Wagenstein crafts an intense narrative of life and death and profound courage against the backdrop of the war and the millions of lives caught up in it.
About the Author
Angel Wagenstein is a prizewinning Bulgarian novelist. His novel Isaac's Torah has been published in Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, France, the Czech Republic, and is forthcoming from Handsel Books. Farewell, Shanghai, his third novel, won the Jean Monnet award in 2004.
Elizabeth Frank is Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Bard College.
Deliana Simeonova was born in Bulgaria and studied English philology and American literature at the University of Sofia. She has worked for civil-society NGOs in Tajikistan, Serbia, Liberia, and now does that work in her native Bulgaria.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Jewish