Sebastian is the story of a young man who, due to an unfortunate accident, has his leg amputated shortly before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty, and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna, the time of war and the end of the Monarchy, while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first book of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality it must have felt like for the people at the time.
This is my third review for WaAr
The story follows the life of Sebastian Schreiber in Vienna, Austria. He is the son of a grocery store owner and having had his leg amputated as a teenager, has to take over the responsibilities of the store and family when his father is drafted for World War I. Though kind and intelligent, Sebastian feels that as a cripple, he will never find true love. Through pre war to post war he and his family experience love, loss and triumph, making life long friends along the way.
At first i found the book to be a bit stilted. Even though there was nothing wrong with the story or content itself, it didn’t flow and i wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters. After awhile it seemed to kick into gear and flowed along smoothly.
I liked most of the characters, though their weaknesses were at times frustrating. Obviously this made it more realistic. There was one character that i did not like, however without them there wouldn’t be as much of a story!
Even though the story was slower paced, it still was a page turner and i found it hard to put it down.
I really enjoyed this book however i was actually quite disappointed in the ending. I found it to be a bit of an anticlimax. It wasn’t so much the resolution of the story, it was how quickly it happened. I felt that it didn’t match the rest of the book in its pace. The rest of the story is quite detailed and slower paced and it seemed to finish so abruptly.
I would definitely recommend this book as it was really interesting, especially if you like historical fiction. I would even recommend it those who like family saga as it errs on that side as well.