RETURN TO VIENNA by Ernst Lothar


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Having to do with Felix von Geldern and his singularly unattractive family who- as Hitler enters- exit from Austria en masse, with the exception of Felix's mother. Once a lawyer in Vienna, Felix takes a martyred stance in New York by becoming a sales clerk in a book department, while his family lives handsomely in suites at the Plaza. Grandma Viktoria and Felix, after he has secured American citizenship, return to Austria after the war to visit Felix's mother, line up the business ventures of the family, and have a bit of fun. There they find ruins and starvation and hopelessness. In a sick Vienna, Felix runs across the pro-Nazi singer, Gertrude, whom he had believed dead, and he marries her, thus forsaking the sweet, simple but dull girl he had left behind in America. Gertrude kills herself on their wedding night, unable to stand Felix's accusations and her own guilt, and Felix and Grandma return to America... A constant ambivalence motivates Felix- his love for both America and Austria, his love for an Austrian and an American woman, and he vacillates between these throughout. It all turns into a pretty tiresome and wooden affair.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1949
Publisher: Doubleday