02 Sep 2013

A Chat with Christoph Fischer

3 Comments News, Review

TLOTW SLider

Today my biggest news is that a website in the US by a fellow author has chosen my book to become a study object for online students and I am invited to answer their questions. Oddly enough just a few days ago exactly this was suggested by one of the reviewers. 

Author Julia Gousseva is a writer and a teacher  Molly

She has a BA in English from Moscow State Linguistics University and two graduate degrees from the University of Arizona: MA in English Language and Linguistics and a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. 

She is a full-time writing teacher at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. 

The goal of this blog is to give her students (and anybody else who happens to wander in) a chance to interact with today’s most interesting writers.

Here is the link!  2137033

http://juliagousseva.com/2/post/2013/09/a-chat-with-christoph-fischer.html

The Luck of the Weissensteiners  

continues to do well in the Jewish Fiction Charts on Amazon –  as does Sebastian.

The current review Bonanza is ongoing for both books.

And here are the last three reviews for The Luck of the Weissensteiners , bringing it to a total of 64 on Amazon.com and 50 on Amazon.co.uk.

Sebastian climbed to 28 reviews – amazing after only being on the market since May.

******

Should be Required Reading for History Students, August 31, 2013

…As a romance, this book is superb: well-drawn, believable, with authentic and likable characters, each with their own realistic flaws.

But calling this amazing novel a romance would be a major understatement. What immediately complicates the budding relationship between Greta and Wilhelm is the historical setting that at first acts as a backdrop for their relationship but, as the story develops, gradually comes to the fore and becomes a guiding force in the story, just like it happened in Europe in 1933 as the dramatic events of World War Two unfolded.

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...The historical detail, the meticulous research done by the author (just look at the topnotch bibliography at the end, and you will be amazed), the accuracy of the smallest detail in the narration – all make this story come to life in the most realistic way possible.

But don’t think that research means absence of plot or dry writing style. Far from it. As the story and the raging war in Europe progress, Greta and Wilhelm get deeper and deeper involved both in their own relationship, full of challenges and complications, from settling on common religious beliefs to dealing with a miscarriage to attempts to find a safe place for their young family to eventual separation, and in events surrounding them. And that’s just the beginning.

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This beautifully told story is filled with allegories and symbolism. For example, at one point, Greta and Wilhelm are considering getting forged passports from a communist and a former customer of Wilhelm’s bookshop. A passing phrase, “we know a lot about people by the kind of books they buy” immediately made me think of the power of books, a theme that runs strongly throughout this novel, and Hitler’s multiple agencies that diligently worked at blacklisting, banning, and eliminating anything that could be construed as “un-German.” Banning books and limiting information access – a terrifying but still very much present concept in today’s world.

The author’s portrayal of Greta as a “pawn in a political chess game” as she is trying to fit in but failing, feels very real. In Greta’s case, with her Jewish background but lack of Jewish religion, a blond son, and a German husband, she just doesn’t belong with either Jews or Germans. Nowhere seems safe for her in war-ravaged Europe. Greta’s plight feels so real, I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s the author’s own “ambiguous sense of belonging” in Bavaria (he was born in Germany from a mixed heritage marriage) shaped his understanding and emotional connection to Greta.

An amazing book on many levels. Highly recommended.

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Wonderful, September 1, 2013

I was gifted this book to review and it is one of the best books that I have read about WW2 . A very humane and personable. The family of weavers where like a family to me. I felt the pain that Greta experienced…. Rather than reading about the atrocities that occurred during the war, this writer wrote about a family and all of the trials and tribulations they experience. While presenting facts about the war that tied everything together…. I would highly recommend this book.

 *****

An Oblique Lightness of Being, September 2, 2013
 
This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 1) (Paperback)

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… two decades before the setting of Kundera’s novel, but dealing similarly in the themes of identity, nationality, shifting ideas and shifting frontiers.

I called up Kundera’s name because Fischer has the same oblique style and concentrates on the slow steady construction of his characters until they are flesh and blood people that we know as intimately as our neighbors and friends. His story portrays struggle, romance, separation and, ultimately, redemption in a way that is both moving and totally believable. The moment I finished this book I clicked into Amazon to find the second book in the trilogy. That says all that needs to be said.

*****
THANKS EVERYONE FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR THE SUPPORT! Reviews like this keep us writers going, so thanks for taking the time and writing such lovely and heart-felt comments.
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22 Aug 2013

Newsflash – More excellent Reviews and Chart Success for my books

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THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

continues its ups and down the Jewish Fiction Chart, currently at 

#36 in Books > Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Jewish

Highlights from the prestigious IndieReader Review

THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS succeeds in shedding light on an overlooked aspect of World War II (i.e. life in Slovakia)…
the historical aspects of many of the characters prove fascinating

Beginning in Bratislava in 1933, this story of historical fiction follows various civilians through the lead-up, duration, and aftermath of World War II. Focusing on individuals in Slovakia the reader is taken on a long-winded, albeit fascinating tour of an often-neglected portion of this most infamous of wars.

In the middle of it all is gentle Greta, a voracious reader from a Jewish family who finds herself in love with a “Prussian looking junior sales assistant” at the local bookstore. Little does Greta know that a wave of anti-Semitism will make her eventual marriage to this non-Jewish man a potentially lethal situation for both husband and wife. Unlike his daughter, Greta’s father Jonah has always exercised more caution in matters concerning his Jewish heritage. As a skilled weaver Jonah has always kept himself from being too closely associated with the Jewish community, never wanting to “attract unwanted attention and damage his business”. Of course nothing can fully protect these and others from the sheer insanity that came with the rise and fall of Nazi Europe.

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Lingering not just on those persecuted by the wave of anti-Semitism but on the bystanders, the sympathizers, and the opportunists as well, the book does an excellent job of providing insight into how regular people could be swept up in the constant barrage of Nazi propaganda. As Greta’s own husband remarks after Greta suffers a miscarriage “Did she really work too hard or was that her weak Jewish body that made the baby come away? I do wonder.” And characters often wonder, fear, plot, and die. As attitudes shift with whoever is winning the war, it becomes clear that no one was ever truly safe at this time no matter what their allegiance or background.

***

On Goodreads THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS has currently 50 reviews and 65 ratings with an average of 4.69 stars,
on Amazon.com 48 with an 4.8 stars

Here are some more excerpts from recent reviews:

Wilma reading

 A Rich, Epic Historical Fiction!,  

Set around the period of the World War II, Christoph Fischer brings to life an epic tale of the struggle for survival of a love-struck couple from two different backgrounds. I’m not much of a fan of Historical Fiction, but for one of the few times in my life, I’ve read a historical fiction and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Luck of the Weissensteiners is a rich, insightful novel that explores the lives of people from various deep, multicultural backgrounds. A story so touching it will bring tears to your eyes. Highly recommended to all Historical Fiction fans.

*****

Mr Fischer’s book is well written, clever and original
I recommend to anybody who is looking for a different novel to read
thank you Mr Fischer 

*****

Meanwhile Sebastian is also cruising the Jewish Fiction Charts and received some more great reviews this week. On Goodreads Sebastian has currently 43 ratings and 22 reviews, with an average of 4.88 stars, on Amazon.com there are 24 reviews with an average of 4.9 stars.

#46 in Books > Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Jewish

The first sentence of SEBASTIAN stirred my curiosity, and like Alice, I found myself in another time and place. Transported to a hospital room in pre-WWI Vienna, I felt the gravity of the situation. Was this doctor really going to amputate part of Sebastian’s leg? Carried along from page to page, I worried alongside his mother, Vera, and wondered why his father, Franz, was not there.

As the novel unfolds and expands, we experience everyday life in this era. Vienna, in the years just before the Great War, was in a sort of golden age bubble — a bubble that was about to burst. The trajectory of Sebastian’s life will change, as will the lives of the other characters we meet, all tied in one way or another to the family’s grocery store, a gathering place of many ethnicities.

The author, Christoph Fischer, is a very talented writer. His first book, THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS, was a fabulous read, too. I think the writing in SEBASTIAN is even more graceful and the history so smoothly integrated. Oh, how deftly the author laces the metaphorical shoe that Sebastian will no longer wear. Everyone is missing a shoe of one kind or another. Sebastian’s journey is everyone’s journey.

Who will love this novel? Anyone who values good storytelling, a well researched setting, and a cast of fascinating characters — each with their own challenges. The novel holds our attention, so rapt we are in how people adapt, well or not, to changing landscapes in their lives, their decisions often based on their perceptions, accurate or not. SEBASTIAN is superb historical fiction. Highly recommended.

*****
Can anything be more turbulent than having your leg amputated as a teenager and losing your self-worth in the process? Sebastian is the story of a young man growing up in a not-so-palatable world, with all the accompanying disasters, irritation, lack of trust, betrayal, frustration; and yet he managed to pull through it all. His resilience, courage and hope are ones that will inspire many for generations to come. The 2nd book in The Three Nations trilogy, Christoph Fischer has woven reality in this 321-page fiction that is so engaging you simply cannot turn away.
*****
I fell in love with Sebastian and how he overcame the hardships that he faced!!!
From losing his leg and confidence at 16 and all the hardships that follow including his pregnant soon-to-be wife running off, leaving him with his young daughter and the First World War that wreaks havoc for his family and nation.
Yet he still manages to stay strong to support his family and himself whilst still managing to smile.
An finally he finds love again and his own self-acceptance!!!
A truly inspiring read for anyone!!!!
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07 Aug 2013

NEW REVIEWS FOR SEBASTIAN

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SEBASTIAN received 3 more 5 star reviews in the last week.  sebastian book

Here are some of the highlights from the reviews:

Historical Novel meets Literary Realism.

Vienna, the beginning of the 20th century, just before WWI. What wouldn’t I give to visit that place to see for myself the so-called “Golden Age” of the center of European science and philosophy, arguably the most liberal place in Europe, where the seeds of the modern ideas of ethnic and religious equality first sprouted and were actually implemented.

The book edges on “Literary Realism.” No character or idea is romanticized and characters are humanly fallible people who are trying to act in their self-interest, be it foolishly sometimes. While I was reading this book, I could not stop making parallels with “War and Peace.” “Sebastian” is, in my opinion, a book about how a war changes people and the society. There’s a tiny bit of a “conclusion” of sorts at the end of the book, in a dialog between Sebastian and one of his friends (no spoilers):

“Many men who are returning from the war have changed and they come home to even more changed women. There comes a time when one needs to let go of the past and live in the present.”

A very good read from a fast-emerging name in historical novels. Recommended

*****

A worthy read,

so it’s with irony that we note his disability.

This author’s talent is the way he gets in those characters’ heads and invites us in too. We’re treated to all those feelings – the good, the bad, and the constantly changing. I love that.

There is also a history lesson going on here, so if you need to brush up on that without getting bogged down by dry dates and facts that have no humanity attached to them – I recommend this book. Very much. Suitable for mature teens – up.

Of course, when book three comes out, I’ll grab it immediately.

****

Great character development

… it is very well written and developed.  

Fischer’s characters are very well rounded.

It is very realistic and I am impressed at the author’s ability to write such full fledged characters.

I was also very impressed with the amount and type of information in the book. Fischer does a magnificent job of showing the tensions between the Jewish and gentile communities. He delves into what happens to the common people during war. In this book you do not see the typical heroes, you see very little of the soldiers, and you hear what is happening politically only as a citizen who was not involved would. This was fascinating, as most of what I knew prior to reading Sebastian was political… not how the regular people would have seen things and the impact on them. I would love to get my hands on Fischer’s research in order to go more in depth on a few questions that I have.

I believe that anyone who likes history and/or enjoys the study of human nature will greatly appreciate this book.

*****
With a cast of well-developed characters, some of whom are extremely flawed, the story is incredibly engaging. In the beginning you learn about about Sebastian and the Schreiber family through Vera, the matriarch. Not only does she suffer from a weak constitution and the loss of her son’s leg, but her husband’s affair with a much younger assistant. But Vera proves herself stronger than she thinks when she takes matters into her own hands and seeks help from the very interesting and extremely entertaining Glueck women. They turn out to be both great resources and wonderful friends to Vera in her time of need.
As the story progresses, you see how against all odds Sebastian finds love and starts a family of his own.

Fischer does an excellent job of capturing the feel of Vienna during such a turbulent time in history. You feel the pain and suffering of the men, women, and children as war tears families apart and hunger and poverty replace the many comforts people had become accustomed to.

A blend of history, romance, and hardships that show the political, cultural, and religious issues of the time, Sebastian is a do-not-miss saga. If you are a lover of historical fiction, this is definitely one you want to checkout!

*****

 

On Goodreads SEBASTIAN tops several Listopia lists and is in the Top Ten of 8 others.
 
In the Indietribe Fiction Charts it stays strong at #6
 
On Amazon.com Sebastian climbed into the Top 100 of Jewish Fiction and has stayed there for several weeks.

 

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5.0 out of 5 stars Completely perfect!
Hands down this author has won me over. Christoph pulls you into his stories from the beginning and refuses to let you go, even…Read more
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT STORY!!
This book is a great story about a kids life just before World War 1 begins. He goes through so much in his life even before he becomes an adult and I can relate to this… Read more
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Historical Drama
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Put Down
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
I fully enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, but the author has taken this book to a completely new level…
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is even better!
What a treat! I feel like a just took a vacation back in time to Vienna where I met some very interesting people. Read more
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, and with how much I loved The Luck of the Weissensteiners, it was tough to wait for this one to come out.
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