Farewell, Shanghai: (a Novel)

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Handsel Books, 2007 - Fiction - 382 pages
3 Reviews
Selected as a runner-up in the 2007 National Jewish Book Award category for fiction.

The unforgettable novel of nearly forgotten refugees who fled Nazi Germany and discovered the glamour and excess of Shanghai.Elisabeth and Theodore Weissberg, famous musicians, Hilde, a young film extra, and Vladek, an Eastern European adventurer wanted by the police on political charges, flee Nazi Germany for Shanghai at the onset of World War II. A magnet for every human ambition and vice, Shanghai is a city of extremes—of dazzling wealth and wretched poverty, suffering and pleasure, and, for the four refugees, exile and safety. There, they enter the world of Jewish refugees, many of them artists and intellectuals, who must either starve or eke out an impoverished and sometimes degraded living, but they are determined to live intelligently, upholding the high culture, humor, and even, insofar as they can, the elegance of their former lives. Master storyteller Angel Wagenstein crafts an intense narrative of life and death, passionate love, and profound courage against the backdrop of the war and the millions of lives caught up in it.

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Farewell, Shanghai

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A large cast of characters inhabits this historical novel by decorated Bulgarian author Wagenstein (Isaac's Torah). Set in Shanghai prior to World War II, it recounts the true story of how thousands ... Read full review

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User Review  - picardyrose - LibraryThing

Jews tried to find sanctuary in Shanghai. Bad idea. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Angel Wagenstein was born in 1922 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to a family of craftsmen. He grew up among the simple-minded, good-natured poor men in his neighbourhood: Bulgarians, Turks, Gypsies, Armenians, Jews, Albanians. Those early years instilled in him sympathy for all the ethnoses and intolerance against racism and social injustice.

Wagenstein's family immigrated to France for political reasons, where he tasted the misery of immigration to the full. They were granted amnesty and came back to Bulgaria. During World War II, under anti-Semitic laws, he was interned in a Jewish camp, which he fled to join the antifascist resistance. In a clandestine action, he was betrayed and detained by the authorities, put to merciless tortures, and sentenced to death. The sentence failed to be executed as the Soviet troops entered Bulgaria. As a volunteer, he took part in the last phase of the war against Nazi Germany.

Wagenstein has created some 25 film scripts, filmed in a number of European countries as well as in China and a number of documentaries. His triptych novel on the lot of European Jews in the 20th century, apart from Bulgaria, was published in Germany, France, Russia and the Czech Republic either entirely or as individual novels. It is slated to be published in English, Spanish and Hebrew.

Wagenstein is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Writers, the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers and the Bulgarian P.E.N. He has been conferred highest prizes at international film festivals, literary awards of the Parisian Sorbonne, of the Union of Bulgarian writers, the German National Prize, and the Jean Monet European literary prize, among others. He was decorated by the French government with the National Order of Merit and the Order of Arts and Literature, while in Bulgaria he is holder of the highest orders and decorations.

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