Man of the Sea

Thomas Mann and the Love of His Life

  • Luminous, moving, surprising − Volker Weidermann recounts the life of Thomas Mann in a whole new way
  • From the author of the SPIEGEL bestseller Ostend (90,000 copies sold)
  • English sample translation by Ruth Martin available
  • Recommended for translation by New Books in German (Spring 23)

With lightness and humor, warmth and clarity, Weidermann writes about the Nobel Prize winner. This book is the story of a German century, the biography of a great writer and his family, but above all it is a book about the dark, the threatening, tempting and liberating – about Thomas Mann and the sea.

Throughout Thomas Mann’s life, the sea was a place of yearning and longing for death – a place of liberation from conventions, from the political, literary and erotic constraints of bourgeois life. A place of freedom and of the true self.

Perhaps it all began where his mother experienced happiness as a child: in the Brazilian jungle, in a big, bright house by the sea. Her son Thomas grows up on the Baltic Sea, but heads south as soon as he can, traveling to Italy, to the Mediterranean, falling in love with young men, but following the conventions of the time and marrying Katia.

Years later: the passage to exile. In California, on the Pacific, he becomes another man yet again, fighting against Hitler, for democracy, for freedom, and acquiring American citizenship. After his death, his favorite daughter Elisabeth continues his legacy as a globally celebrated scholar of the seas with her utopian oceanic politics.

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  • Publisher: Kiepenheuer&Witsch
  • Release: 07.06.2023
  • 240 pages
  • ISBN: 978-3-462-00231-7
Vera Tammen

Volker Weidermann

Volker Weidermann, born in 1969, was the host of Germany's most important literary talk show on TV. Since 2021, he has been head of the literature and arts section of DIE ZEIT. He is the author of numerous books, including Ostend. Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth and the Summer before the Dark and Dreamers