Robert Seethaler The Tobacconist

ISBN 13: 9781509806584

The Tobacconist

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9781509806584: The Tobacconist

From The Man Booker International Prize finalist Robert Seethaler comes a tender, heartbreaking story about one young man and his friendship with Sigmund Freud during the Nazi occupation of Vienna.

Seventeen-year-old Franz Huchel journeys to Vienna to apprentice at a tobacco shop. There he meets Sigmund Freud, a regular customer, and over time the two very different men form a singular friendship. When Franz falls desperately in love with the music-hall dancer Anezka, he seeks advice from the renowned psychoanalyst, who admits that the female sex is as big a mystery to him as it is to Franz.

As political and social conditions in Austria dramatically worsen with the Nazis’ arrival in Vienna, Franz, Freud, and Anezka are swept into the maelstrom of events. Each has a big decision to make: to stay or to flee?

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About the Author:

ROBERT SEETHALER is an Austrian living in Berlin. He is the bestselling author of four novels, including The Tobacconist, which has sold more than 200,000 copies in Germany, and A Whole Life, which has sold more than 100,000 copies in Germany. He also works as an actor, most recently in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One Sunday, in the late summer of 1937, an unusually violent thunderstorm swept over the mountains of the Salzkammergut. Until then, Franz Huchel’s life had trickled along fairly uneventfully, but this thunderstorm was to give it a sudden turn that had far-reaching consequences. As soon as he heard the first, distant rumble of thunder, Franz ran inside the little fisherman’s cottage where he lived with his mother in the village of Nussdorf am Attersee, and crawled into bed to listen to the unearthly racket from the safety of his warm and downy cave. The weather shook the hut on every side. The beams groaned, the shutters banged outside, and the wooden roof shingles, thickly overgrown with moss, flapped in the storm. Rain pelted against the windowpanes, driven by gusts of wind, and on the sills a few decapitated geraniums drowned in their tubs. The iron Jesus on the wall above the old clothes box wobbled as if at any moment he might tear himself from his nails and leap down from the cross; and from the shore of the nearby lake came the crashing of fishing boats slammed against their moorings by the pounding waves.

When the storm finally died down and a first tentative ray of sun quivered towards his bed across soot-blackened floorboards trodden down by generations of heavy fishermen’s boots, Franz felt a sudden small rush of contentment, curled up in a ball, then stuck his head out from under the quilt and looked around. The hut was still standing, Jesus still hung on the cross, and through the window, which was sprinkled with drops of water, a single geranium petal shone like a pale red ray of hope.

Franz crawled out of bed and went over to the kitchen alcove to boil up a saucepan of coffee and creamy milk. The firewood under the stove had stayed dry and flared up like straw. For a while he sat staring into the bright, flickering flames, until the door flew open with a sudden crash. In the low doorframe stood his mother. Frau Huchel was a slender woman in her forties, still quite good-looking, though somewhat gaunt, like most of the local people: work in the surrounding salt mines, or cattle sheds, or the kitchens of the guesthouses for summer visitors took their toll. She just stood there, panting, one hand resting on the doorpost, her head slightly bowed. Her apron stuck to her body; tangled strands of hair hung down over her forehead, and drops of water were forming and falling one by one from the tip of her nose. Behind her the peak of the Schafberg mountain reared up ominously against the grey, cloud-covered sky, in which blue flecks were already reappearing here and there. Franz was reminded of the lopsided, oddly-carved Madonna someone in the olden days had nailed to the doorframe of the Nussdorf chapel, and which was now weathered almost beyond all recognition.

‘Did you get wet, Mama?’ he asked, poking about in the fire with a green twig. His mother raised her head, and then he saw that she was crying. The tears were mingled with the rainwater, and her shoulders were heaving.

‘What’s happened?’ he asked in alarm, shoving the twig into the smoking fire. His mother didn’t answer; instead, she pushed herself off the doorframe and took a few unsteady steps towards him, only to stop again in the middle of the room. For a moment she seemed to look around her as if searching for something; then she raised her hands in a gesture of helplessness and fell forward onto her knees.

Franz stepped forward hesitantly, placed his hand on her head and started awkwardly stroking her hair.

‘What’s happened?’ he repeated hoarsely. He felt suddenly strange, and stupid. Until now it had been the other way round: he had cried, and his mother had stroked him. Her head felt delicate and fragile under his palm; he could feel the warm pulse beneath her scalp.

‘He’s drowned,’ she said quietly.

‘Who?’

‘Preininger.’

Franz paused. He rested his hand on her head for a few moments longer, then withdrew it. His mother stroked the strands of hair off her forehead. Then she stood up, took a corner of her apron and wiped her face with it.

‘You’re filling the whole cottage with smoke!’ she said, took the green twig out of the stove and stoked the fire.

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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Main Market Ed. Language: English . Brand New Book. Set at a time of lengthening shadows, this is a novel about the sparks that illuminate the dark: of wisdom, compassion, defiance and courage. It is wry, piercing and also, fittingly, radiant. Daily MailWhen seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz.It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed. In the tradition of novels such as Fred Uhlman s classic Reunion, Bernhard Schlink s The Reader and Rachel Seiffert s The Dark Room, The Tobacconist tells a deeply moving story of ordinary lives profoundly affected by the Third Reich. Bookseller Inventory # AA79781509806584

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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Main Market Ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Set at a time of lengthening shadows, this is a novel about the sparks that illuminate the dark: of wisdom, compassion, defiance and courage. It is wry, piercing and also, fittingly, radiant. Daily Mail When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz. It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed. In the tradition of novels such as Fred Uhlman s classic Reunion, Bernhard Schlink s The Reader and Rachel Seiffert s The Dark Room, The Tobacconist tells a deeply moving story of ordinary lives profoundly affected by the Third Reich. Bookseller Inventory # AA79781509806584

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