Available in English for the first time, here is David Vogel's previously unknown novel that had literary Israel abuzz when it was published in 2012, almost one hundred years after the author started working on it.
Literary Israel was abuzz when the untitled manuscript of this previously unknown novel was discovered in 2010 in the Vogel archives in Tel Aviv. Experts have since come to believe that David Vogel began working on it between 1912 and 1925 in Vienna, and continued later in Paris. Although Vogel wrote in Hebrew, he lived most of his adult life in Vienna and Paris; he was essentially a central European author, belonging to the group that included Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Franz Werfel, and Joseph Roth. Like Married Life, which established Vogel as a major writer, Viennese Romance reflects the obsessive-destructive loves and the pervasive decadence of the time.
'Set in gorgeous, lilac-scented 1900s Vienna ... [Viennese Romance] is the story of penniless chanced Michael (18) up from the country and determined to "plumb the depths of life in all its shades" ... you are left with an indelible impression of Vanished Vienna with its Strauss waltzes, flower gardens and sumptuous ballrooms.'* Daily Mail *
'What a wonderful novel it is. Brave and bold in content, with erotic scenes and a sensational love triangle at its hub, it is written in Vogel's distinctive style, through which he probes his characters' souls and skillfully sculpts their physical attributes. There is Vogel's trademark investigation of the lineaments of passion and, as always, his fear of passion's institutionalization. The author's love of the city's frenetic pace shines through, along with the remnants of spirituality that are crushed amid the gears of the modern machine.'-- Noa Limone * Haaretz *
'A treasure trove of fiery temperament - uninflated, direct, and exciting - by a real Hebrew artist.'* Haaretz *
'Viennese Romance is a seminal addition to the secular Hebrew canon, providing vital insight into the history of the Jewish diaspora. Along with its author, it must not be forgotten.'-- Nicole Lee * Readings *
'In some ways, Vogel is like an early Woody Allen ... he was introverted, consumed with sexual hang-ups, and lived as a perpetual outsider.'* Tablet Magazine *
'[Viennese Romance's] own history is as fascinating as that which it evokes. Written over several decades between Vienna and Paris, it swings between cosmopolitanism and philosophical enquiry ... This is the Vienna of Freud, Arthur Schnitzler and Otto Weininger; its fin de siecle sexual consciousness more risque than other Western cities.'-- Tali Lavi * The Melbourne Review *
'There is an unmistakable mastery in the hyperaesthetic intensity with which Vogel depicts early 20th-century Vienna's mix of squalor and sophistication, and in the volatile blend of sensuality and despair that haunts his narrative.'-- Jane Shilling * The Telegraph, UK *
'Speaking through his philosophical young protagonist, Vogel writes knowingly about life's emotional extremes, from impregnable joy to consuming depression ... What really amazes is just how current it feels. Vogel has been compared to Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann, but Viennese Romance also recalls the poetic melancholy and easily punctured gaiety of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote during the same period and whose work still resonates hugely to this day.'-- Doug Wallen * The Thousands *
'The romance here is in Rost's vision of Vienna, the cultural capital of old-world central Europe ... This is that exotic, vanished Austria, the Austria of Freud and Wittgenstein and Emperor Franz Joseph ... Viennese Romance offers insight into the world of a central figure in 20th-century Jewish writing, and a crucial pathfinder of a specifically Hebrew literature'-- Andrew Fuhrmann * Weekend Australian *
'[A] marvellous tale ... evocative and insightful.'-- William Yeoman * West Australian *
'Viennese Romance is a very beautiful novel ... Like any truly good literature, Vogel is worth reading over and over.'-- Yotam Schwimmer * Ynet *