The Man of Café Kranzler
Original title: L’Homme du Café Kranzler
This novel captivated me to the last degree. Michel Goujon is a fabulous storyteller! — Amélie Nothomb
This book is the product of a slow and long maturation. A personal journey of several decades. It all began one day at the beginning of the school year, in September 1965. […] I was about to turn 11 and, in Saint-Tropez where I lived, I was starting the sixth grade. That day, I had an encounter that was to mark me forever. After school, at the end of the afternoon, I entered Ellen Gerstel’s “lair”, a bookstore located in an old sailor’s cellar […].As time went by, I learned a little about the life of this exceptional bookseller who was known in my hometown, somewhat pejoratively, as “The German”. Ellen Gerstel was German. She had to leave Berlin and her country in 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler and the Nazis took power […].When Ellen Gerstel passed away at the end of 1993, I knew that one day I would write a book to honor her. It would not feature her, no, but it would be about the immeasurable tragedy of Nazism in Germany. I didn’t know when I would do it or how I would approach the subject. But I was sure of it. This book owes a lot to the German bookseller in Saint-Tropez. — Michel Goujon
Andreas, a brilliant sports journalist and his wife Magdalena are thrown into the turmoil of Nazism. The coup de grâce for their couple, already weakened by the infertility of their union. On one side, the idolatry, the hysterical worship and devotion of Magdalena for the Führer; on the other side, Andreas’ gradual disengagement from the revolution, and his desire to enter into “inner resistance” against the viciousness of this Third Reich supposed to last a thousand years, according to Adolf Hitler.
The novel masterfully describes the personal journey of the couple, both in their thirties, through the events of this tragic period in Germany. In obedience to his conscience, Andreas will find his way towards the light of freedom, while Magdalena will sink into the darkness of National Socialism. Through the lens of intimacy, a subtle exploration of the history of the Third Reich in its triumphant phase, that harmoniously combines the echo of Schubert’s Lieder with the effectiveness of a page-turner thriller…
- German translation available.