Evelyn Juers' extraordinary book is a unique imagining of the unconventional love affair between the writer and political activist Heinrich Mann and Nelly Kroeger - a tall, blonde ex-barmaid twenty-seven years his junior - recounting their flight from Nazi Germany in 1933, to France and then to Los Angeles.
In House of Exile their story is intricately interwoven with others from their circle of friends, relatives and literary contemporaries: Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, James Joyce, Franz Kafka and Virginia Woolf, among others. It gives us a poignant glimpse of a generation of remarkable writers who were determined to carry on living, reading and working in wartime - in ship's cabins, train compartments and shabby rented rooms - even though it seemed the civilized world was coming to an end.
This is a unique portrayal of the strange, dislocated existence of the émigré, and how lives are connected and defined by writing. Evelyn Juers enlarges the boundaries of biography to provide an intimate, sensitively imagined view of an extraordinary time in history.