The Architects (European Classics)

The Architects (European Classics)

Stefan Heym

Language: English

Pages: 327

ISBN: 0810120445

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Written between 1963 and 1966, when its publication would have proved to be political dynamite-and its author's undoing-this novel of political intrigue and personal betrayal takes readers into the German Democratic Republic in the late 1950s, shortly after Khruschev's "secret speech" denouncing Stalin and his methods brought about a "thaw" in the Soviet bloc and, with it, the release of many victims of Stalinist brutality. Among these is Daniel, a Communist exile from Hitler who has been accused of treachery while in Moscow and who now returns to Germany after years of imprisonment. A brilliant architect, he is taken on by his former colleague, Arnold Sundstrom, who was in exile in Moscow as well but somehow fared better. He is now in fact the chief architect for the World Peace Road being built by the GDR. In Daniel, Arnold's young wife Julia finds the key that will unlock the dark secret of her husband's success and of her own parents' deaths in Moscow-and will undermine the very foundation on which she has built her life. A novel of exquisite suspense, romance, and drama, The Architects is also a window on a harrowing period of history that its author experienced firsthand-and that readers would do well to remember today.

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heart. Nothing. He had expected nothing; he had never thought things through to that point. Mer-cifully, his mind had always been able to switch off in time. “Why should I have expected anything? . . .” Sundstrom said finally. “He disappeared, that was all. What could I do? Or you? Or anyone?” Krylenko kept a noncommittal silence. “Did Wollin tell you of his plans?” Sundstrom went on asking. “What happens to those people? Can they do what they please, move about, talk with whom they like?”

1962, followed by an outline of a novel, The Architects, early in 1963. Heym presented his massive personal archive to the University of Cambridge, England, in 1992, and we therefore can follow the precise stages of composition. First, there is a rough, handwritten sketch of the plot, probably written around May or June 1963. The essence of the story is all here, and the author clearly had heard the fate of the writer Ernst Ottwalt by this point; there is then a longer, typed version that

of his mouth curled—“form is secondary, sort of superstructure, isn’t it? And we know what time it takes for changed forms to develop analogous to changed content. . . .” He had emphasized the we, including her. Yet she suspected him: He had used all the right terms, but were they in the right sequence? “You mean to say everything depends on who lives in a building and who works in it. . . .” “Exactly.” “. . . and who owns it.” “Yes.” Julia nodded. She could bring some examples of her own to

back. “Your heartthrob’s in a mess there,” she said, “eh?” He looked her over, from the bangs on her forehead to her low-heeled shoes that made her feet appear flat and large. She knew he was seeing through her clothes and she blushed: blotches of red on unhealthy white. He was on the telephone as she entered his studio. He seemed animated; what the voice at the other end of the wire was saying obviously pleased him; he looked at her, eyes bright, welcoming; a wave of his hand invited her to

tone, Julia sensed the inherent threat. The cigarette tasted flat; the sharp shadows on his face were distorting it; she wished she could break away, but her feet were rooted. 152 “There’s only one person, anyhow, who needs to have the point proved: you.” “I want to go now,” she said. “I’m expected home.” “Only you,” he insisted. “Do you know why I came along that day, on the grand round-trip and inspection tour? To spy on you, you and Wollin. To listen to what he was saying to you, and how

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