Christoph Fischer on The Black Eagle Inn

Christoph Fischer talks about his latest book The Black Eagle Inn, which is the last book in his trilogy; The Three Nations.

The Black Eagle Inn by Christoph Fischer

Why I wrote THE BLACK EAGLE INN
Early feedback to my third book in the Three Nations Trilogy stated that it would probably be of most interest for people with a German heritage. As author I had to ask myself: could this novel bear relevance and interest for other people and non-German readers?  The answer is yes.
I was born 25 years after the end of the war. Our history lessons at school ended with the year 1945. One of the most urgent and important questions remained unanswered for me: How did a country with so much shame and horror in its past recover and move forward? How could it? I don’t think anything can ever make up for what has happened and nobody can forgive or atone for the collective guilt. But can the new generation ever deservedly rid itself of the stigma the previous generation has brought to the country?
Apart from the actual family story in my book I hope a great point of interest will be the way different characters carry on with their life and develop their philosophies, outlooks and politics. De-nazification, restructuring of a political landscape and implementation of new state leaders are issues the book touches upon. Only ten years after the end of the war a wave of Italian and Turkish Immigrants filled the hole in the German employment market, but how did the Nation respond to those foreigners (named Gastarbeiter)? Ten years after that a new right wing party formed and threatened to tip the political balance and bring new shame to the nation.
The Sixties brought the Bader Meinhoff Complex, student revolts and many family conflicts instigated by the generation born after WWII. Many of those were disillusioned with politics and turned violent. It took a new generation of politicians to instigate a modernisation of German society.
The year of my birth Chancellor Willy Brand famously fell on his knees in Warsaw, humbly honouring a monument for the victims Warsaw Uprising. An important symbolic gesture after previous governments tried too hastily to move on from the dark past.  My book covers a lot of ground about post war Germany and should be interesting for those whose knowledge of Germany also ends with 1945. We know about the Nuremberg Trials and the Nazi’s on the run in South America, but what about the little man, guilty or not? What does he do with this broken country?

What is your personal experience with the issues in the book?
I grew up with the first generation of children of mixed marriages and Gastarbeiter families and I experienced them being treated badly by some but also very welcoming by others. I grew up in times of a United Europe, exchange students and pop music from Italy, France, Britain and America. For me other nations and cultures were never anything but an exciting cultural enrichment and I adored the people in my generation who had a similar vision and worked hard to make such a mentality part of a modern Germany.
Of the three books THE BLACK EAGLE INN is the one that is closest to my own life experience although I was born around the time the story ends. While all three books deal with family sagas vaguely similar to some of my ancestors, this story takes place in an environment and times that I know almost first hand. Yet, there were an awful lot of facts that I only learnt about while researching the foundations for the book. I hope it helps to understand more about the path of the German people from its past to the current state.

A New Germany?
Can a leopard ever change its spots and can a Nation ever change? Is Germany trying to take over the European Union in militant fashion as some people claim? Are Germans always rigid, organised and pushy? Did Mussolini’s fascism stem from a reminiscent ‘Roman’ megalomania? Is there something inherently unchangeable in the makeup of a Nation?
Confronted with often harsh stereotypes of Nazi-esque Germans in film, television and conversations abroad it seems that a certain image sticks to us Germans in the view of other Nations. I left the country 20 years ago and often see the Germans from the outside perspective with similar eyes and cringe at some innocent remarks by my compatriots and their sometimes only misunderstood behaviours. Yet some of these stereotypes can reinforce undifferentiated ideas about German mentality and politics.
My book is by no means a glorification of the German nation. As much as I love my place of origin I am happy where I live now. By having written a somewhat political book about post-war Germany I hope to paint a more balanced and more complex picture about its past and its people. Like every country in the world Germany should remain a work in progress of continuous development and improvement.

Religion in THE BLACK EAGLE INN
Most of my characters in this book are Catholics and some of them are not portrayed favourably even though other Catholics are written with more differentiation. I would like to point out however in any case that by no means do I intend to condemn religion or Catholicism as a whole.
Implied criticism of those devout Catholic characters is directed at the dogmatism of some, which also shows in their political and other beliefs and behaviours. Certain outdated beliefs and practices are part of the historically accurate portrayal of the times and places. Misuse of religion and Bible quotes for personal gain or political goals are as old as religion itself and are not limited to Catholicism.
I would like you to know that I have the most profound respect for any responsible religious person who uses their respective belief system to become a better person and to better the world with love and tolerance of others.

Politics in THE BLACK EAGLE INN
To write about any Nation and its generational renewal party politics are difficult to avoid, even more so in the case of Germany where for 12 years one party dictated world history. In one plotline of the book I have gone deep into the rivalry between the two main parties in post-war Germany, which exists to this day.
I must apologise for any perceived bias and any offensive remarks against either of the parties portrayed. Party politics at the time were more differentiated than I could afford to showcase them in this book. The fictional party affiliation of some of my characters in the book was determined by certain ideas they stand for and which of the actual parties at the time would have fitted their profile the most.
In my view politicians of every party can be corrupt as they can be idealists. By no means would I like to imply that I favour the politicians of one party of another. My book is not a manifesto for political ideas per se but for humanitarian ideas that should be the foundation for any type of politics.
Politics can also be a frustrating and hard business and I applaud all of the idealists who go into politics and struggle hard for their visions and beliefs. I do not have the endurance for it myself and would like to thank those who have done so and who selflessly help to form and shape Germany into a modern state that has learnt from its past.

If you are interested in The Three Nations Trilogy check out my blog post about it here.

The Black Eagle Inn was released on October 15.

On Amazon: http://bookshow.me/B00FSBW2L6
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y

Click here for my review.

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The Three Nations Trilogy by Christoph Fischer

Having finished the Three Nations Triology by Christoph Fischer, i thought i would create a post about all three books. If you’re interested in reading them, the last book in the series has just been released. For a quality read, these books are a bargain! I have linked my review of each book so that you can see what i thought.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy: Book 1)

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 Greta Weissensteiner falls for Wilhelm Winkelmeier, a bookseller from Berlin. The couple and their families are increasingly challenged by the disintegration of the multi-cultural society of Czechoslovakia. The story unfolds further as war comes to all of Central Europe, with its torment, destruction and unpredictability – even after the fighting has stopped.

On Amazon:  http://bookshow.me/B00AFQC4QC
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8
On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395

Click here for my review.

Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 2) by Christoph Fischer

Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy: Book 2)

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.

On Amazon: http://bookshow.me/B00CLL1UY6
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy

Click here for my review.

The Black Eagle Inn by Christoph Fischer

The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy: Book 3)

The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen.  Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.

Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.

On Amazon: http://bookshow.me/B00FSBW2L6
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y

Click here for my review.

Short Biography:
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he is still resident today. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl
http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/
http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Triology) (Volume 3) by Christoph Fischer

The Black Eagle Inn by Christoph FischerBlurb

The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen.  Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.

Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.

***TO BE RELEASED 15 OCTOBER 2013***

My Perspective

This is the third book in The Three Nations Trilogy. The story is about the Hinterberger family who own and run a farm and restaurant, named The Black Eagle Inn. Anna has been running it with an iron fist for most of her life however not having been blessed with children, she is constantly weighing up her nephews and nieces as potential heirs. It soon is clear that the choice lies between two of her nephews, Markus and Lukas. Unfortunately her best laid plans are ruined by the one she loves most.

I actually found this book quite sad. It wasn’t sad in that it made me cry – it didn’t. It was more in that you were sad that so many of the characters were blinded by their greed and that when things fell apart they were too proud to forgive.

The story was well written and there was a lot of development in the characters. My attention was caught from the beginning and the outcome of the story was quite unknown to me until the very end – i didn’t find it predictable at all.

I found the tone to be a little different compared to the first two books, The Luck of the Weissensteiners and Sebastian. They were more historical fiction whereas this was more of a family saga simply set in the past. There was a lot more actual politics in this book as well compared to the other two. The other two were political in the sense that they involved the war and all the politics surrounding that however this book had a lot of politics to do with area of Germany where the story was based. I actually found in a section towards the end of the book that it was a bit too political – i felt like i was being too heavily persuaded in certain views and opinions.

I also just wanted to say that i really appreciated one of Christoph’s notes at the end. The book had a lot of negative religious content and this is what he wrote – “Equally, the book is by no means intended to offend religiously devoted readers. Religion is not at all meant to be criticised, only misuse of it for other purposes.”

I would definitely recommend this book to those who like family saga and also historical fiction although it’s not technically in that genre.

This review is based on a digital ARC provided by the author.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 1) by Christoph Fischer

The Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph FischerBlurb

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 Greta Weissensteiner falls for Wilhelm Winkelmeier, a bookseller from Berlin. The couple and their families are increasingly challenged by the disintegration of the multi-cultural society of Czechoslovakia. The story unfolds further as war comes to all of Central Europe, with its torment, destruction and unpredictability – even after the fighting has stopped.

My Perspective

This is my fourth review for WaAr

This book is the first in the series, The Three Nations Trilogy. I have already read the second book, Sebastian, (yes, i read them out of order) however the stories aren’t set one after the other like a traditional series, each book is set in a similar era and are just each from a different perspective of a family living in a different Central European country. I think it is quite a unique and clever way of writing a series.

The story follows the life of Greta, the eldest daughter of Jonah Weissensteiner through before and during WWII. Through consequences of passion, Greta is whisked away to live with her new husband, Wilhelm Winkelmeier on the family farm. However with the political situations occurring in Germany, Greta’s Jewish ancestry becomes a burden to the Winkelmeiers. Through the strength and the luck of the Weissensteiners, Greta and her family face the challenges before them, persevering to make it out the other side.

I enjoyed reading The Luck of the Weissensteiners. I found it well written and interesting. It was informative and gave insight to what it was like for the people living in Slovakia before and during WWII. I think it was also close to my heart because i am of Czechoslovakian ancestry. My grandma was Czechoslovakian (she has since passed away) and her parents left by boat a few years after the end of WWI because of the political insecurity that was still present.

Even though this was a work of fiction (based on historical events), i found that it was almost like a written documentary. It was written very factually, which i found i actually quite liked. It did prevent me from fully connecting with all of the characters though because even though there were emotional situations occurring, the tone of the book wasn’t very emotional, it was very rational.

I also really appreciated the epilogue. It was well detailed and really tied up all the loose ends. I definitely feel that a lot of books have a rushed ending, and sometimes they try to make it up with an epilogue (which is completely fine, however most of the epilogues are pretty much, “and they lived happily every after. The end.”). I was really impressed with this epilogue and how without spoiling anything, it wasn’t all “happily ever after” but it was explained well and very realistic. I think that’s what also made it seem like a written documentary.

I must admit there were some parts towards the end of the story that were a little bit unrealistic. Again, without spoiling anything, i found some of the characters and situations a bit too lighthearted and carefree for the situations they were in and also the era.

The map at the beginning of the book was also really helpful in understanding who was controlling the different parts of Czechoslovakia. It was a nice touch.

Overall it was an insightful read and i would definitely recommend it to those who like historical fiction. I would probably also recommend it those who aren’t really fans of fiction either because of the way it was written.

Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 2) by Christoph Fischer

Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 2) by Christoph FischerBlurb

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.

My Perspective

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.