A New York Times Notable Book:The richly imagined fictional life of one of cinema’s founding fathers from National Book Award finalist Jim Shepard
In 1907, while waiting for a train that would take him from his quiet rural hometown to university in cosmopolitan Berlin, Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe met Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele, the great passion of his life. Hans was the catalyst for Plumpe’s transformation into F. W. Murnau, the filmmaker best known for directing Nosferatu—the iconic silent film adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula—as well as The Last Laugh, Sunrise, and Tabu. As we follow Murnau from the airfields of the Great War to the cafés and clubs of Weimar Berlin to the virtual invention of filmmaking, and from there to the South Seas, we chart the progress of a man desperate to open himself to others but nonetheless continually “at home in no house and in no country.” While devoted to those he loved, Murnau remained hamstrung by self-loathing and, like his vampiric creation, afraid of his own “terrible inhumanness.”
In his fascinating fictionalized biography of Murnau, Jim Shepard, author of the critically acclaimed The Book of Aron, brings both Weimar-era Germany and the early days of film to life in roaring, irresistible detail, delving into the heart and mind of a troubled genius and uncovering the inner turmoil of a reclusive and enigmatic cinema pioneer.