by Kathi Diamant
Published by Basic Books © 2003
Here, for the first time, is the remarkable story of the woman who was by the side of literary giant Franz Kafka at the end of his life, and who was responsible for giving him the happiest year of his life.
In this gripping literary detective story, Kathi Diamant brings to light the amazing woman who captured Kafka's heart and kept his literary flame alive for decades. It was Dora Diamant, an independent spirit who fled her Polish Hasidic family to pursue her Zionist dreams, who persuaded Kafka to leave his parents and live with her in Berlin the year before he died. Although many credit (or blame) her for burning many of his papers, as he had requested, she also held onto many others--papers that the Gestapo confiscated and that have yet to be recovered. Dora's life after Kafka--from her days as a struggling agitprop actress in Berlin to her sojourn in Moscow in the 1930s, from her wartime escape to Great Britain, to her first emotional visit to the new nation of Israel--offers a prism through which we can view the cultural and political history of twentieth-century Europe.
Based on original sources and interviews, including never-before-seen material from the Comintern and Gestapo archives and Dora's newly discovered notebook, diary, and letters, Kafka's Last Love illuminates the life of a literary "wife" who, like Véra Nabokov and Nora Joyce, is a remarkable woman in her own right.
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