Genre: Fiction
Published: 6 September 2012
Publisher: Abacus

Night Falls on the City

by The Estate of Sarah Gainham

Vienna, 1938. Beautiful actress Julia Homburg and her politician husband Franz Wedeker embody all the enlightened brilliance of their native city. But Wedeker is Jewish, and just across the border the tanks of the Nazi Reich are primed for the Anschluss.

When the SS invades and disappearances become routine, Franz must be concealed. With daring ingenuity, Julia conjures a hiding place. In the shadow of oppression, a clear conscience is a luxury few can afford, and Julia finds she must strike a series of hateful bargains with the new order if she and her husband are to survive.

A highly acclaimed bestseller when first published in the 1960s, Night Falls on the City is a true lost classic, and an unforgettable portrait of wartime.

"Night Falls on the City is one of those rare novels of beauty and scope and ambition that brings to life a particular moment in history. It is, without doubt, Gainham's masterpiece ... An important and courageous novel, it is timely that Night Falls on the City is now being restored to its rightful place on the bookshelf beside other classics of Second World War literature." - Kate Mosse
"A pleasure to read ... A compellingly intimate portrait of Vienna, which captures its atmosphere of fear, mistrust, corruption and ultimate collapse." - Helen Dunmore
'NIGHT FALLS ON THE CITY is really an arresting book ... I don't think many books get written like this anymore. "The scope is huge. The eye for minute detail unfailing... The author asks the question directly: 'What was one to do?' Why risk oneself for a stranger who is already beyond saving? Friend and neighbour fall to the same logic. Ultimately, the falseness of lives lived carefully saturates Vienna and Julia cries out for just one gesture of morality. It is a powerful book with a message that will always be timely." - William Broderick
"Brilliant and moving." - Simon Mawer
"I can’t resist recommending one of my favourite books. ...This is a long book full of illuminating detail and peopled with countless colourful, iniquitous and admirable characters. ...moving and memorable... After years of pressing tattered secondhand copies of this novel on my friends I’m delighted it’s available again.” - Jessica Mann, Literary Review
"First published in 1967, this arresting book. saturated with a sense of place, paints a compelling portrait of a society swiftly descending into chaos." - Good Book Guide
"One of the most rewarding novels I have ever read... a big serious subject wrapped in a sparkling, alluring parcel of well-plotted, well-told and exciting fiction." - Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
"...a chilling, and very intimate, depiction of these dark times" - Vienna Review

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