Life and Death of Joachim Gottschalk
Original title: Vie et mort de Joachim Gottschalk
Joachim Gottschalk was the most famous actor in Germany from the 1930s until 1941, when he committed suicide along with his wife and son. This novel relates his tragic fate, and through it, that of the greatest artists of that era.
In 1920s Berlin, Gottschalk’s talent gradually came to be recognized on the theatrical stage. He was the most promising young actor of his generation. But while Joachim was going from success to success on stage and screen, his nation, Germany, was sliding into fascism. Married to Meta, a Jewish woman he was madly in love with, and devoted to his art, which gave his life meaning, Joachim became more divided day by day. The Nazis ordered him to choose between his art and his wife. In November 1941, the spouses committed suicide together, taking their son Michael with them.
The entire German art scene is portrayed through the family’s tragic fate; it was a scene in which everyone had to choose between exile, submission, and death.