Night Falls On The City
The Lost Masterpiece of Wartime Vienna
By Sarah Gainham
The gripping lost masterpiece novel of wartime Vienna.
Vienna, 1938. Beautiful actress Julia Homburg and her politician husband Franz Wedeker embody all the enlightened brilliance of their native city. But Wedeker is Jewish, and just across the border the tanks of the Nazi Reich are primed for the Anschluss.
When the SS invades and disappearances become routine, Franz must be concealed. With daring ingenuity, Julia conjures a hiding place. In the shadow of oppression, a clear conscience is a luxury few can afford, and Julia finds she must strike a series of hateful bargains with the new order if she and her husband are to survive.
A highly acclaimed bestseller when first published in the 1960s, Night Falls on the City is a true lost classic, and an unforgettable portrait of wartime.
Sarah Gainham was born in London in 1915. She moved to Germany in her early thirties, shortly after WWII, and then to Austria, where she remained for over fifty years. It is in central Europe that her early thrillers such as Cold Dark Night, The Stone Roses and Silent Hostage are played out.
Night Falls on the City was first published to worldwide acclaim in 1967. She later wrote two further novels set in Vienna, A Place in the Country and Private Worlds. Gainham reported regularly on central European affairs for the Spectator, Encounter and the New Republic. She died in Austria in 1999
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- Publication date:
06 Sep 2012
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A pleasure to read . . . a compellingly intimate portrait of Vienna from the Anschluss to the end of the Second World War, which captures its atmosphere of fear, mistrust, corruption and ultimate collapse. There are no heroics; instead Sarah Gainham offers a scrupulously detailed story of individuals forced through barbarism into chaos. — Helen Dunmore, bestselling author of The Siege and The Betrayal
Brilliant and moving. — Simon Mawer, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Glass Room
A rare novel of beauty and scope and ambition ... without doubt Gainham's masterpiece — Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth
Thrilling. — Fanny Blake, Woman & Home
Brilliantly captures the mass confusion, corruption ... and the mistrust of even friends and family engendered by the occupation. Leaves you with an indelible impression. — Val Hennessy, Daily Mail
One of my favourite books . . . The story of Julia's double life is moving and memorable. — Jessica Mann, Literary Review
A vivid picture of war . . . Gainham is a master storyteller. — David Herman, Jewish Chronicle
This arresting book, saturated with a sense of place, paints a compelling portrait of a society swiftly descending into chaos. — Good Book Guide
One of the most rewarding novels I have ever read ... It is all done with a sure, confident but restrained hand, which make the terror and horror of it all the more potent. I feel confident in recommending it to anyone who prefers a big serious subject wrapped in a sparkling, alluring parcel of well-plotted, well-told and exciting fiction, as I do. — Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday