From the bestselling author of A Whole Life, a moving account of an ordinary young man living through extraordinary times, and the lengths we will go to in order to protect what we love.
Robert Seethaler was born in Vienna and divides his time between his home town and Berlin. He is the author of five novels, of which The Tobacconist is the fourth. He also works as an actor, most recently in Paolo Sorrentino's Youth.
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 *
Seethaler blends tragedy and whimsy to create a bittersweet picture of youthful ideals getting clobbered by external forces. The result is a little like Great Expectations, only with dachshunds and strudel. * Observer *
Essential reading for the early years of the 21st century. * Scotland on Sunday *
[The Tobacconist's] portrayal of pre-war Vienna is tender and elegiac. There are echoes of Arthur Schnitzler in Fran'z feverish obsession with Anezka, OEdoen von Horvath in minor characters such as the neighbouring butcher who denounces the tobacconist to the Gestapo, and Robert Musil in the texture of the city. The moment when the frail, ill Dr Freud boards the train for London is an elegy for the cultural and intellectual glory of early twentieth-century Vienna . . . The Tobacconist remains unwavering in its quiet, understated style and it is all the more devastating for it. * Times Literary Supplement *
Told with a dry wit that enhances, rather than disguises, the sadness of its story, The Tobacconist is a touching miniature of an ordinary life irrevocably altered by the larger forces of history. * Sunday Times *
Robert Seethaler's The Tobacconist is a poignant, tragic look at the creeping rise of fascism in Vienna before the outbreak of the Second World War. Told with humor and pity, the novel expertly depicts how easy it is to find, and lose, one's place in the world . . . [The Tobacconist] brilliantly demonstrates how even small actions can give a person meaning in the face of dire threats. * Shelf Awareness *
I enjoyed Robert Seethaler's The Tobacconist. The novel sets up a tiny tobacconist's shop in 1930s Vienna as a window on to a street, a city and a continent, all drifting into conflict. -- Ed Smith * New Statesman *