‘They’re all sitting in the Cafe Flore, this company in free fall, trying one more time this summer to feel like a group of vacationers. Trying to pretend that they’re carefree.’
Summer Before the Dark, the BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, is now out in paperback!
Ostend, 1936: the Belgian seaside town is playing host to a coterie of artists, intellectuals and madmen, who find themselves in limbo while Europe gazes into an abyss of fascism and war. Among them is Stefan Zweig, a man in crisis: his German publisher has shunned him, his marriage is collapsing, his house in Austria no longer feels like home. Along with his lover Lotte, he seeks refuge in this paradise of promenades and parasols, where he reunites with his estranged friend Joseph Roth.
For a moment, they create a fragile haven; but as Europe begins to crumble around them, they find themselves trapped on an uncanny kind of holiday, watching the world burn.
Intrigued? Click here to read chapter one.