Kunstlers in Paradise: Book summary and reviews of Kunstlers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine

Kunstlers in Paradise

by Cathleen Schine

Kunstlers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine X
Kunstlers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine
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  • Published Mar 2023
    272 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

There was a time when the family Künstler lived in the fairy-tale city of Vienna. Circumstances transformed that fairy tale into a nightmare, and in 1939 the Künstlers found their way out of Vienna and into a new fairy tale: Los Angeles, California, United States of America.

For years Mamie Künstler, ninety-three-years-old, as clever and glamorous as ever, has lived happily in her bungalow in Venice, California with her inscrutable housekeeper and her gigantic St. Bernard dog. Their tranquility is upended when Mamie's grandson, Julian, arrives from New York City. Like many a twenty-something, he has come to seek his fortune in Hollywood. But it is 2020, the global pandemic sweeps in, and Julian's short visit suddenly has no end in sight.

Mamie was only eleven when the Künstlers escaped Vienna in 1939. They made their way, stunned and overwhelmed, to sunny, surreal Los Angeles where they joined a colony of distinguished Jewish musicians, writers and intellectuals also escaping Hitler. Now, faced with months of lockdown and a willing listener, Mamie begins to tell Julian the buried stories of her early years in Los Angeles: her escapades with eminent émigrés like Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood, Thomas Mann. Oh, and Greta Garbo. While the pandemic cuts Julian off from the life he knows, Mamie's tales open up a world of lives that came before him. They reveal to him just how much the past holds of the future.

Cathleen Schine's captivating and comedic twelfth novel explores exile, émigrés, movie stars, musicians, family bonds and the power of stories—both those we hand down and the ones held secretly in the heart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Few authors could pull off what Cathleen Schine does in Künstlers in Paradise: creating a seamless, multilayered saga about family dynamics and relationships, immigration, the early days of Hollywood and the often disturbingly cyclical nature of history.... Künstlers in Paradise is truly a trove of unexpected rewards." - BookPage (starred review)

"Dreamy, drifty, and droll, studded with lush botanical description and historical gems. Schine's many fans will enjoy." - Kirkus Reviews

"Reading like a cross between Leopoldstadt and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, this does the trick as an emotionally resonant meditation on family, memory, and the need for stories." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Kunstlers in Paradise was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Cathleen Schine Author Biography

As a child, Cathleen Schine dreamed of growing up to become a graduate student. Years later, her childhood ambitions were realized when she entered the University of Chicago's graduate program in medieval history. There, it was noticed that she had no memory for names, dates or abstract ideas, and she was thus forced, tragically, to abandon her life-long dream. Before this disappointment, however, while on a fellowship studying paleography in Italy, Schine made an important discovery: she liked to buy shoes. So when the welcome of academia was rescinded, Schine was able to pursue a career in this area which was rewarding but short-lived, as she could not get a job. In debt and increasingly desperate, Schine turned to the lucrative world of free-lance writing. Having failed as an ...

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