It is the spring of 1939. In months Europe will be Hitler's, and Badenheim, a resort town vaguely in the orbit of Vienna, is preparing for its annual summer season. Soon the vacationers arrive, as they always have, a sample of Jewish middle-class life. The story unfolds as a matter-of-factly as a Chekhov play, its characters so deeply held by their defensive trivia that they manage to misconstrue every signal of their fate, until these signals take on the lineaments of disaster.
"The writing flows seamlessly...a small masterpiece."
Irving Howe, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"As real as Kafka's unnamed Prague...imbued with a Watteau-like melancholy."
Gabriel Annan, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
"Magical...gliding from a kind of romantic realism into universal allegory."
Peter Prescott, NEWSWEEK
"The sorcery of Badenheim 1939 [lies in] the success with which the author has concocted a drab narrative involving rather ordinary characters and made their experienced profoundly symbolic yet never hollow."
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NEW YORK TIMES