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.
From the bestselling author of A Whole Life, a moving account of an ordinary boy living through extraordinary times, and the lengths we will go to in order to protect what we love.
Essential reading for the early years of the 21st century. Scotland on Sunday 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
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. Praise for A Whole Life: 'A lovely contemplation of a life in solitude in a remote valley, into which the modern world slowly intrudes.' Ian McEwan 'As haunting and as spare as Stoner ... A profound, wise and humane novel that no reader will forget.' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times 'At once heart-rending and heart-warming. A Whole Life, for all its gentleness, is a very powerful book.' Jim Crace