A grand hotel in the center of 1920s Berlin serves as a microcosm of the modern world in Vicki Baum's celebrated vel, a Weimar-era bestseller that retains all its verve and luster today. Among the guests of the hotel is Dr. Otternschlag, a World War I veteran whose face has been sliced in half by a shell. Day after day he emerges to read the paper in the lobby, discretely inquiring at the desk if the letter he's been waiting for for years has arrived. Then there is Grusinskaya, a great ballerina w fighting a losing battle t so much against age as her fear of it, and Gaigern, a sleek professional thief, who may or may t be made for each other. Herr Preysing also checks in, the director of a family firm that isn't as flourishing as it appears, who would never imagine that Kringelein, his underling, a timorous petty clerk he's bullied for years, has also come to Berlin, determined to live at last w that he's received a medical death sentence. All these characters and more, with their secret fears and hopes, come together and come alive in the pages of Vicki Baum's delicious and disturbing masterpiece.
Vicki Baum (1888-1960) was born in Vienna. One of the world's best-selling authors, she is credited with inventing the hotel novel genre with Grand Hotel. Basil Creighton (1886-1989) was a writer and prolific translator of German literature. Margot Bettauer Dembo has translated numerous works by German authors. She was awarded the Goethe-Institut/Berlin Translator's Prize in 1994 and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize in 2003. She lives in New York City. Noah Isenberg is Professor of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College-The New School for Liberal Arts. His most recent book is Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins. He lives in New York City.