Author(s): Michael Kumpfmuller
The aftermath of Franz Kafka's love affair with Dora Diamant is legend: refusing to honor his instructions to destroy his work when he died, Diamant saved Kafka's writings and letters that were in her possession. These were later taken by the Nazis and are still being sought today. Her importance for Kafka's literary legacy makes their all-too-brief relationship even more intriguing. Set over the course of his last year, "The Glory of Life" is compelling fictional re-imagining of this fragile, tender romance. In July 1923, Kafka is convalescing by the Baltic Sea when he meets Diamant and they fall in love. He is forty years old and dying of tuberculosis; she is twenty-five and seems to him the essence of life. After a tentative first meeting, the indecisive Kafka moves with Diamant to Berlin, a city in the throes of political upheaval, rising anti-Semitism, and the turmoil of Weimar-era hyperinflation. As his tuberculosis advances, they are forced to leave the city for the Kierling Sanatorium near Vienna, a move that threatens the paradise they have created. The first of Kumpfmuller's novels to appear in English after his acclaimed "The Adventures of a Bed Salesman, The Glory of Life" is a meticulously researched and poignant portrait of one of the most enduring authors in world literature. Beautifully crafted, this book is an evocative rumination on the power of love and friendship.
Michael Kumpfmuller was born in Munich and lives in Berlin, where he works as a novelist and journalist. Anthea Bell has worked as a translator for many years. Her translations from German include modern and classic fiction by authors such as E. T. A. Hoffmann and Kafka, as well as work by Stefan Zweig.