Biography Gay & Lesbian Books

Erika and Klaus Mann in New York: Escape from the Magic Mountain (Chicago Shorts)

This is the riveting tale of two brave nonconformists whose dramatic lives open up new perspectives on the history of the twentieth century. Thomas Mann's two eldest children, Erika and Klaus, were unconventional, rebellious, and fiercely devoted to each other. Empowered by their close bond, they espoused vehemently anti-Nazi views in a Europe swept up in fascism and were openly, even defiantly, gay in an age of secrecy and repression. In 1936, they fled to the United States and chose New York as their new adopted home. From the start, the two were embroiled by the literary and intellectual life, political turmoil, and shifting sexual mores of their times. Andrea Weiss engages their struggles, their friendships (Maurice Wertheim and Annemarie Schwarzenbach, among them), and their liaisons, as the siblings try to adapt to their new lives, all while introducing their work to an American audience for the first time.

Survival

There are times when an idyllic childhood in Ireland, even for just a few years, can sustain that child as he grows older, encountering physical abuse and terror. That was so for me between 1949 and 1953. Ireland has been in my heart ever since. My memoir is about a battering alcoholic father who would not accept me as his son. It is about my love of Ireland sustaining me, giving me the courage to fight back against despair, to survive a road accident, to seek a better life through reading and hope and education. It is about a growing awareness of being gay under legal intolerance. It is about never giving up. It is about surviving against the odds.