Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy)

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Press:Createspace CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 1, 2013)
Author Name:Fischer, MR Christoph


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 years; how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the monarchic system , 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 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 sequential order, so as not to see one as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the reality it must have felt like for people at the time.
Review from Goodreads: "The strength of this author lies in the choice of his characters, a large ensemble cast around the title character Sebastian.
Each of them seems to represent a different class, a social or an ethnic group of the melting pot that is the Habsburg Vienna of 1913.
The family shop with its wide selection of goods and changing staff serves almost as the perfect symbol for the forced Austro-Hungarian state that has run its cause.
With much research gone into the setting Fischer however focuses more on the human side of his characters and their conflicts.
As before, he never points the finger or favours one group in particular but manages to give a great and authentic feel of the times.
Self-doubt and a fear of the future oozes out of most his characters, particularly the physically fragile Sebastian and his family.
It seems the old generation is holding on to what they know and what is slipping through their fingers; the young ones are unsure how to be themselves in a modern world where old values are becoming meaningless and their own initiative and expertise will be needed.
With a hint of irony and a love for sentiment and nostalgia Fischer portrays the stubborn heroes, the errant and self-defeating and often silly ways in which the characters trod along in their search for happiness, be that seances, amateur psycho-analysis or risking all for a piece of the past.
This second part of his trilogy is less intense in terms of historic background and has an easier flow of writing.
Greatly evolved Fischer gently shows the falling apart of the old order, showing some of the innocence of the time.
After having first written a book about the brutal times that follow this is a daring concept that fortunately paid off.
Just like the leg amputated Sebastian has to learn to walk through life with what he has left, so will the new shrunken state of Austria need to find a new stance in a changing Europe.
Having read in an interview that the story is based on his own grandfather makes the story all the more touching and a small piece of history come alive."


Literature & Fiction,Genre Fiction,Religious & Inspirational,Jewish,World Literature,Family Life

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     WWI and WWII are my favorite time periods to research and read about, and “Sebastian” is one of those very well written and highly accurate from the historical point of view...
  •     What an amazing story. Christoph has again shown his diligence in research. The historical facts are great. This story, second in the series, deals with another non-practicing Jewish family. It is heartbreaking when I realize how many give up on their beliefs and traditions for the sake of fitting in. Sebastian must undergo a leg amputation because of a rusty nail. He is insecure and does not like to cause problems and this results in gangrene setting into a wound. Later he loses more of his leg due to his refusal to be a burden and neglects to mention he is having problems. When war breaks out, his father is called to join the army and Sebastian must take over the family business. The entire family has issues of their own and their shortcomings create a world of insecurity. Slowly Sebastian grows up and falls for Eva, who has begun working for them. Her dismissal of his advances adds to Sebastian's insecurities. Needing help in the store, a new pair of refugees come and live with the family. When Love does come for him, Margit has to show him she loves him. Her mother has mental issues. The mother's paranoia and deep seated prejudices come into play and a pregnant Margit leaves her daughter behind to go back and find her father. Margit gets left by her mother in the care of a Jewish family group. Sebastian and his family sell their store and he finds happiness as a teacher. Both Margit and Sebastian learn to depend on themselves. Remarkable. War and shortages combine to give this story its passion and its strength. Great book.
  •     Sebastian covers the period immediately prior and after the First World War. The story is told from the viewpoint of a Jewish family living in Vienna and centres on Sebastian, a...
  •     A friend let me borrow this book for the weekend. I laughed, cried and felt so much emotion throughout as Fischer bring's the story of Sebastian to life, in Book 2 of The Three...
  •     Sebastian by Christoph Fischer is a beautiful story of love and hope in the middle of World War One.
  •     I found the writing very amateurish. The plot developed slowly and the characters and some of the scenes seemed quite unrealistic. I did not finish it.
  •     Fischer is a beautiful creative writer. He developes the characters very well. I could not put Sebastian down and I'm now reading the 3rd in this trilogy.
  •     Let me just say, I read book one and went straight into book two. I was hoping it would be as good as the first, and shockingly enough, it was better.
  •     Sebastian is rich with history, family relationships, struggle, and the bonds that tie families together. Christoph writes with such a down to Earth flavor that you become part of this family and are immediately drawn into the despair a mother feels when her son must lose his leg. The inner family squabbles and bantering that are innate in every family are present and continue as war intrudes more into their lives. As the complexities of each characters inner thoughts play out, throughout the story, you as the reader gain insight into the background of those feelings. The author transports you to a time in history many know nothing about, yet educates you while seamlessly keeping you in the story. Christoph has a magic touch with words taking us through the years with clean, precise, well researched, storytelling. He hits on the very personal nature of each characters emotional turmoil, misinterpretations, and manipulations, all of which are spun from their own insecurities or individual needs, and inevitability affect their future. There are far too many events that I enjoyed to mention and I don’t want to give away too much but I enjoyed the early Freud experimentation by the Glueck women using Vera as their subject. Was also pleasantly surprised by interest into the spiritual realm during this time of war and understood the need for family wanting to know what had happened to missing family members. Sebastian is a story that will have you facing the flaws of human emotion, and have you rooting for love. This is an inspirational story of community and survival on many different levels. The plight of family, being handicapped, expectations, sexual preference, prejudice, political awareness, tradition, pride, self worth, and the Jewish community are spun into a brilliant and captivating historical fiction. You will love how it all comes together. Christoph Fischer, is an author whose stories deserve recognition and being thoroughly enjoyed.
  •     Loved this book!! Just my type with the World War 1 history and Mystery and romance and great characters. Kept my attention throughout it and loss of sleep because of it.
  •     In this day and age with everyone talking about WWIII that might happen any moment it's interesting to read about the human struggle in the face of war.
  •     Good book
  •     The first sentence of SEBASTIAN stirred my curiosity, and like Alice, I found myself in another time and place. Transported to a hospital room in pre-WWI Vienna, I felt the gravity of the situation. Was this doctor really going to amputate part of Sebastian's leg? Carried along from page to page, I worried alongside his mother, Vera, and wondered why his father, Franz, was not there.As the novel unfolds and expands, we experience everyday life in this era. Vienna, in the years just before the Great War, was in a sort of golden age bubble --- a bubble that was about to burst. The trajectory of Sebastian's life will change, as will the lives of the other characters we meet, all tied in one way or another to the family's grocery store, a gathering place of many ethnicities.The author, Christophe Fischer, is a very talented writer. His first book, THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS, was a fabulous read, too. I think the writing in SEBASTIAN is even more graceful and the history so smoothly integrated. Oh, how deftly the author laces the metaphorical shoe that Sebastian will no longer wear. Everyone is missing a shoe of one kind or another. Sebastian's journey is everyone's journey.Who will love this novel? Anyone who values good storytelling, a well researched setting, and a cast of fascinating characters --- each with their own challenges. The novel holds our attention, so rapt we are in how people adapt, well or not, to changing landscapes in their lives, their decisions often based on their perceptions, accurate or not. SEBASTIAN is superb historical fiction. Highly recommended.
  •     This story starts with Sebastian as a mere sixteen-year-old boy. We watch Sebastian grow up to be a man by the end of the book.The author writes about different family dynamics and the effects of the war on each of the individual members.We meet the main hero, Sebastian, his parents Vera and Franz, and his grandparents. We also meet a few of Sebastian’s “love interests.”The author does a great job discussing about loss, betrayal, racial prejudice, jealousy, courage, and perseverance. I was particularly drawn to Sebastian as we watch him grow up and find himself. Never too confident, Sebastian grows up to be an intelligent young man—a man of integrity.This was a very interesting read for me. I enjoyed learning about the setting, the time era, and the historical lessons this book contained. Great job!

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