The EscapeBook - 2009
Haffner is charming, morally suspect, vain, obsessed by the libertine emperors. He is British and Jewish and a widower. But Haffner's attachments to his nation, his race, his marriage, have always been matters of conjecture. They have always been subjects of debate.
There are many stories of Haffner--but this, the most secret, is the greatest of them all. The Escape opens in a spa town snug in the unfashionable eastern Alps, where Haffner has come to claim his wife's inheritance: a villa expropriated in darker times. After weeks of ignoring his task in order to conduct two affairs--one with a capricious young yoga instructor, the other with a hungrily passionate married woman--he discovers gradually that he wants this villa, very much. Squabbling with bureaucrats and their shadows means a fight, and Haffner wants anything he has to fight for.
How can you ever escape your past, your family, your history? That is the problem of Haffner's story in The Escape . That has always been the problem of Haffner--and his lifetime of metamorphoses and disappearances. How might Haffner ever become unattached?
Through the improvised digressions of his comic couplings and uncouplings emerge the stories of Haffner's century: the chaos of World War II , the heyday of jazz, the postwar diaspora, the uncertain triumph of capitalism, and the inescapability of memory.
The Escape is a swift, sad farce of sexual mayhem by a brilliant young novelist The New York Times has called "a prodigy and, as such, unstoppable."