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Tobacconist, The

Seethaler, Robert

  14 Reviews

Franz Huchel is a wide-eyed 17 year-old when he arrives In Vienna to start an apprenticeship with a tobacconist, courtesy of his mother who remains back in their mountain village. Everything is new to him, not least being the prospect of romance with a Bohemian girl, and the friendship of one Sigmund Freud. But it is 1937, dark clouds are rolling in, and momentous change is afoot.

Set against the backdrop of the rise of Nazism in Austria, this is a tender coming-of-age story that moves its protagonist from innocence to sober understanding, with a light touch and a wry humour.

Pages
234
Year
2016

Reviews

TAUR 043
05-10-2022
A few loved the book, others found it mundane. But wonderful discussion through the questions leading us to appreciate the book more! It is well-written, and we enjoyed the character of Freud, adding humour.
NEWP 016
13-07-2022
Slow to begin, very descriptive. We felt the story picked up and became more interesting near the end. Mediocre read for this group.
LOWER 007
01-10-2021
This book was 'really up there'. It was easy to read but multi layered. Group enjoyed a good discussion. Some members will be inspired to read other books by this author.
DUNED 080
24-09-2021
Some of us 'enjoyed' this book, but others found it a bit slow.
CHCH 033
02-08-2021
Lots of great discussion here. Overall opinion a worthwhile read.
CROMW 004
10-05-2021
Increased our knowledge of Austria's war record. Provoked discussion on the role of the media.
AUCK 058
05-10-2020
A well-written story which was both moving and engaging. The picture of life in pre-WWII Vienna was realistically drawn, including the Nazi menace and shocking ending.
WELL 104
18-09-2020
Most of the group enjoyed the integration of the fictitious with a real life figure (Freud). We found the language to be descriptive and beautifully crafted. Two members found the earlier part of the book lacked direction and was therefore rather tedious. But perhaps the very banality of the 'story' gave emphasis to the horror of Nazi occupation.
LEVIN 001
17-09-2020
Several people did not finish this book for various reasons, but those who did were enthusiastic. The discussion centred around the unusual approach of limiting the story to what the characters could perceive directly at a time of major social disruption.
HAVE 015
17-09-2020
Most of us really enjoyed this book. Slow to start, the book developed into a quirky and interesting story. Loved the characters and their relationships - Franz and his mother relayed through postcards. Loved the dreams pasted on the shop door - a sad but delightful tale.
COROM 003
29-05-2020
This book was a bit slow to begin with but became interesting with the introduction of Franz' friendship with Freud. The characters are engaging and their relationships well defined, as are the feelings he has for them. With the effects of Nazism on Vienna, Franz has to 'grow up' and deal with how it affects those he cares for and himself.
AKAR 002
29-05-2020
All favourable comments. Notes useful for helping focus the discussion. Well-written, characters well delineated, settings authentic, all provoked intensive discussion. Main character very likeable for honesty, and interesting ways of developing what his thoughts were as he matured. We learnt a bit more about this period of Austria's history and WWII. Recommended.
WELL 041
29-05-2020
Another wonderful read - a real gem. Franz develops from a young man overwhelmed with the changes in his life, to first love, friendship with Freud, maturing to a mixture of idealism and daring in the changing circumstances of Austria with the Nazi take-over. Tinged with humour and understanding, this book covers a wonderful and touching story.
HAMIL 029
11-04-2020
Most of the group found 'The Tobacconist' an interesting book, a coming-of-age story set in Austria in the years just before World War 2. Most commented on the unusual style of the novel in which the characters are seen as if from a distance, giving a dreamlike impression even as the naive central character tries to deal with finding a girl and the effects of fascism. An unusual novel - some thoroughly enjoyed it while others just found it interesting.