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The Decision (De beslissing)
Britta Böhler, 2013
144 pages, 20.000 words
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For full German manuscript, contact molegraaf@cossee.com
 
 
The Decision | De beslissing
Britta Böhler

In 1933 at the beginning of Hitler’s reign, Thomas Mann decided not to return to Munich, where he had lived for many years. He was warned by family and friends during a holiday visit to Arosa in Switzerland not to go back home, because they were afraid that he would be arrested. The Nazis had confiscated his possessions and only with great difficulty did he succeed to smuggle some of his furniture, his manuscripts and some money out of the Third Reich.

Britta Böhler's intriguing novel follows the Nobel laureate during three crucial days in 1936. The reader accompanies Thomas Mann when he visits the Neue Zürcher Zeitung to hand over his open letter to the newspaper’s famous editor-in-chief with a definite No to the Nazis. After leaving the building he is tortured by doubt.

His Berlin publisher Bermann-Fischer, a Jew, will be furious with this unwelcome spotlight on Thomas Mann’s publishing house Fischer. Will the Nazis ban and burn his books? Isn't he abandoning his faithful readers in the Third Reich, while choosing for the safety of exile in Switzerland? And what will happen if the Nazis confiscate his diaries with his most intimate homo-erotically tinged confessions?

Böhler succeeds in following one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century as a family man, a husband, a father, a writer, a man with moral doubts. And we, the readers, see a human soul like all of us trapped in a historical setting that forces him to choose between two equally impossible choices.

As Thomas Mann documented these three days only sparsely in his diaries, the novel fills this gap in the most convincing way – though always based on true historical facts. It shows a universal conflict that mirrors a human nightmare: to lose and confuse the moral implications of right and wrong.

Praise for The Decision:

‘The debut novel by professor advocacy Britta Böhler about three days in the life of Thomas Mann is no simple excursion but the start of authorship.’ – de Volkskrant

‘Her clear written debut novel cuts into an interesting theme and makes for a clever portrait of the wavering author Thomas Mann.’ – Trouw

‘An ambitious and accessible book about Thomas Mann, his worries and fears for his credibility.’ – Elsevier

'While using biographical material, debutant Britta Böhler has written a fascinating portrait of the unwieldy doubter Thomas Mann.' – Het Financieele Dagblad

‘A clever novel. Britta Böhler has painted a convincing image of a period of time and an expatriate who is unsure of how the situation will develop. She is a true novelist.’ – Literatuurplein.nl

‘Böhler fluently weaves biographical and historical events with the inner monologue from Thomas Mann and provides a clear view of his personality.’ – Dagblad van het Noorden ***

‘Böhler manages to lift Thomas Mann’s dilemma above the personal drama to a universal question: when confronted with evil, are you allowed to remain silent to save yourself or should you take a stand?’ – Tubantia

‘It is about accepting a new identity. Being a German outside of Germany. In doing this Böhler makes a wonderful connection between Mann and one of the characters that he has struggled with the most. But she takes it one step further. She teaches us that literature, music and even the political ruins in Mann’s Heimat lead to one of his most important works, Doctor Faustus. And there are more interesting parallels between Hitler, Mann and Wagner that are subtly revealed by Britta Böhler. The Decision is highly recommended for everyone who wants to have a plausible view on the train of thought of Thomas Mann as a writer, a father, husband and a tortured mind.’ – CuttingEdge.nl ***

 
 
Aufbau (Germany) - Der Brief des Zauberers

Seit zwei Jahren lebt Thomas Mann im Schweizer Exil. Das Haus am Zürichsee ist nicht groß, das ganze Leben ist genügsam. Aber das Wichtigste: Noch darf er in Deutschland veröffentlichen. Doch dies ist mit einem Schweigen erkauft – nie hat er öffentlich gegen das Hitler-Regime Stellung bezogen. Im Januar 1936 aber entwirft Thomas Mann einen Brief, der sein Leben tiefgreifend verändern würde – so er veröffentlicht wird.

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Aufbau Taschenbuch (Germany) - Der Brief des Zauberers

Seit zwei Jahren lebt Thomas Mann im Schweizer Exil. Das Haus am Zürichsee ist nicht groß, das ganze Leben ist genügsam. Aber das Wichtigste: Noch darf er in Deutschland veröffentlichen. Doch dies ist mit einem Schweigen erkauft – nie hat er öffentlich gegen das Hitler-Regime Stellung bezogen. Im Januar 1936 aber entwirft Thomas Mann einen Brief, der sein Leben tiefgreifend verändern würde – so er veröffentlicht wird.

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Haus Publishing (UK) - The Decision

This intriguing novel follows the German novelist Thomas Mann during three days in 1936. Away from home in Switzerland and fearing arrest on his return to Germany, Mann is confronted with the decision of whether or not to go home. He decides to write an open letter to the Nazi regime to be published in a Swiss newspaper, but is tortured by doubt: his publisher in Germany, a Jew, will be furious with the unwelcome attention drawn to his publishing house; by choosing exile isn’t he abandoning his loyal readers in Germany? Will the Nazis burn his books? Will they confiscate his diaries full of his intimate, homo-erotic confessions?

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Kapon (Greece) - ΤοΜΑς ΜΑν oi TΡΕΙΣ ΚΡΙΣΙΜΕΣ ΜΕΡΕΣ

Από το 1933, μετά την άνοδο του Χίτλερ στην εξουσία, ο Τόμας Μαν αυτοεξορίζεται στην Ελβετία μαζί με την Εβραία σύζυγό του και τα παιδιά τους. Το καθεστώς παγώνει τα περιουσιακά του στοιχεία στη Γερμανία, αλλά τα έργα του δεν ρίχνονται στις πυρές που οργανώνει ο Γκέμπελς. Οι γέφυρες με την πατρίδα δεν έχουν κοπεί οριστικά κι εκείνος ελπίζει ότι θα εξακολουθήσει να εκδίδει τα βιβλία του στη Γερμανία και ότι δεν θα χάσει το γερμανόφωνο κοινό του. Είναι, εξάλλου, ο μεγαλύτερος εν ζωή Γερμανός συγγραφέας και θεωρείται από πολλούς ως «η φωνή του έθνους». Οι εθνικοσοσιαλιστές είναι διατεθειμένοι να του συγχωρήσουν τα πάντα και να τον δεχθούν ως άσωτο υιό. Μοιραία, το 1936, ο Τόμας Μαν οδηγείται σε μια κρίσιμη απόφαση.

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Livre de Poche (France) - La décision

En 1933, Thomas Mann quitte Munich pour un voyage en Suisse, avec sa femme Katia et leurs enfants. Pendant ce temps, en Allemagne, le monde s'écroule. C'est le début de l'exil... Un exil d'abord résigné, jusqu'à ce jour de février 1936 où l’écrivain décide de condamner publiquement le régime nazi. Lorsqu’il apporte cette lettre à son ami journaliste Korrodi afin qu’elle soit publiée, celui-ci est souffrant, et la publication est retardée de trois jours. Trois longs jours durant lesquels le doute va s'emparer de lui. Peut-on continuer à écrire lorsqu'on a perdu la reconnaissance de sa patrie, de ses lecteurs ? Et en tant que mari et père, a-t-on le droit de mettre en péril la vie des siens?

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Turbine (Denmark) - Beslutningen

Året er 1936. Den store tyske forfatter og nobelpristager Thomas Mann har levet 2½ år i eksil i Schweiz sammen med sin familie, fordrevet af det nazistiske styre. Hans bøger udkommer stadig i Tyskland, men kun fordi han endnu ikke har udtalt sig offentligt om Hitler-regimet. Hvor længe kan han med god samvittighed forblive tavs over for diktaturet i Tyskland for at beholde sine tyske læsere?

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Stock (France) - La décision

En 1933, Thomas Mann quitte Munich pour un voyage d’agrément en Suisse, avec sa femme Katia et les petits. Pendant ce temps, dans la patrie, le monde s’écroule. C’est le début de l’exil… Un exil d’abord résigné, jusqu’à ce jour de février 1936 où Thomas Mann se résout à condamner publiquement le régime nazi dans une lettre qu’il destine au Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

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Rights sold to:
   
- Denmark (Turbine)
- France (Stock)
- Germany (Aufbau)
- Greece (Kapon)
- Israel (Sifriat Poalim-Hakibbutz Hameuchad)
- Italy (Guanda)
- Turkey (Aylak Adam)
- United Kingdom (Haus)
 
 
 
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