Synopses & Reviews
In July 1923, Franz Kafka is convalescing by the Baltic Sea when he meets Dora Diamant and falls in love. Set over the last year of Kafka's life, the tale of Franz and Dora's fragile time together in a Germany juxtaposes the excitement and vitality of Weimar Berlin with Kafka's indecision and failing health. Mediated through letters, telegraphs, and the telephone, Michael Kumpfmüller captures the exhilaration of modernity and the essence of a friendship nourished by communication.
The Glory of Life meditates on what really makes life worth living. A compelling combination of historical research and fictional reconstruction, this evocative and artful novel captures the inner life of one of the twentieth century's most influential and revered literary figures.
Michael Kumpfmüller was born in Munich, Germany, in 1961 and now lives in Berlin. His debut novel The Adventures of a Bed Salesman (Picador) was published in 2003 to critical acclaim, and his 2009 novel Message to All won the Alfred Döblin Prize.
Anthea Bell's translations include W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz, Wladyslaw Szpilman's memoir The Pianist, E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr, as well as a large selection of Stefan Zweig's novellas and stories. Her prizes and awards include the Mildred L. Batchelder Award (seven times), the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize, and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.
"This prizewinning German novel is as good on Kafka as it is on the times he lived through. . . . Admirable and welcome."
“A moving love story. . . . Scrupulously researched. . . . The Glory of Life
, elegantly translated by Anthea Bell, avoids the pitfalls of kitsch and pathos. . . . Its core themes—love in the face of death and the resilience of hope—are as timeless as Kafka’s own writings.”
“Evokes the heartbreakingly brief and fragile happiness that the indecisive Kafka and his young last love created for themselves.”
“Kumpfmüller sets a beautiful and overdue memorial that contrasts common depictions of Kafka as somber, lonely and Oedipal with a hitherto unprecedented lightness.”
Kumpfmullers powerful novel imagines the last year of Franz Kafkas life in which he fell in love with Dora Diamant.
In July 1923, Franz Kafka is convalescing by the Baltic Sea when he meets Dora Diamant and they fall in love. He is forty years old and is dying; she is twenty-five and seems to him to be the essence of life itself.
Set over the course of Kafkas last year, The Glory of Life is the story of a fragile, tender romance. After a tentative first meeting an indecisive Kafka moves with Dora to Berlin - a city in the throes of political upheaval, rising anti-Semitism and the turmoil of Weimar-era hyper-inflation - before the tragic advance of his tuberculosis forces them to the Kierling Sanatorium near Vienna, threatening the paradise they have created.
Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted, The Glory of Life is a poignant portrait of one of the most enduring authors in world literature and an evocative rumination on the power of love and friendship.
The aftermath of Franz Kafkas love affair with Dora Diamant is legend: refusing to honor his instructions to destroy his work when he died, Diamant saved Kafkas writings and letters that were in her possession. These were later taken by the Nazis and are still being sought today. Her importance for Kafkas literary legacy makes their all-too-brief relationship even more intriguing. Set over the course of his last year, The Glory of Life
is compelling fictional re-imagining of this fragile, tender romance.
In July 1923, Kafka is convalescing by the Baltic Sea when he meets Diamant and they fall in love. He is forty years old and dying of tuberculosis; she is twenty-five and seems to him the essence of life. After a tentative first meeting, the indecisive Kafka moves with Diamant to Berlin, a city in the throes of political upheaval, rising anti-Semitism, and the turmoil of Weimar-era hyperinflation. As his tuberculosis advances, they are forced to leave the city for the Kierling Sanatorium near Vienna, a move that threatens the paradise they have created.
The first of Kumpfmüllers novels to appear in English after his acclaimed The Adventures of a Bed Salesman, The Glory of Life is a meticulously researched and poignant portrait of one of the most enduring authors in world literature. Beautifully crafted, this book is an evocative rumination on the power of love and friendship.
About the Author
Michael Kumpfmüller was born in Munich and lives in Berlin, where he works as a novelist and journalist.Anthea Bell has worked as a translator for many years. Her translations from German include modern and classic fiction by authors such as E. T. A. Hoffmann and Kafka, as well as work by Stefan Zweig.