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Der Trafikant

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,863 ratings  ·  699 reviews
Österreich 1937: Der 17-jährige Franz Huchel verlässt sein Heimatdorf, um in Wien als Lehrling in einer Trafik einem Tabak-und Zeitungsgeschäft sein Glück zu suchen. Dort begegnet er eines Tages dem Stammkunden Sigmund Freud und ist sofort fasziniert von dessen Ausstrahlung. Im Laufe der Zeit entwickelt sich eine un- gewöhnliche Freundschaft zwischen den beiden ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 3rd 2012 by Kein & Aber (first published August 29th 2012)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  6,863 ratings  ·  699 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. To take a terrible and horrifying time in history, the Nazi invasion of Austria, and be able to render a story infused with tenderness and beauty, takes a great deal of talent. A young man, Franz, sent from the Lake District by his mother, to help an old friend of hers, a Tobacconist by trade, has a gradual awakening and loss of innocence with the things he sees happening. Yet, he refuses to let this define him, and is determined to live his life the best he can. He meets Sigmund Freud, ...more
Cheri
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley, 2017
!! NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK !!

”One Sunday, in the late summer of 1937, an unusually violent thunderstorm swept over the mountains of the Salzkammergut. Until then, Franz Huschel’s life had trickled along fairly uneventfully, but this thunderstorm was to give it a sudden turn that had far-reaching consequences. As soon as he heard the first distant rumble of thunder, Franz ran inside the little fisherman’s cottage where he lived with his mother n the village of Nussdorf am Attersee and crawled
...more
Steve
Jan 23, 2017 added it
Shelves: german, world-war-2


Salzkammergut, Austria


When a deliberately - nay, a joyously - unlikely narrative device event obliges the seventeen year old mama's boy Franz to leave the backward idyll of Salzkammergut - Austria's lake region - for Vienna, the painfully innocent and ignorant country bumpkin has no idea what's in store for him. The date of this forced removal is significant: 1937. The 1938 Anschluss of Austria into the Greater German Reich is in the offing, and Vienna is a seething stew of Nazis (who already
...more
Rebecca
I’m very glad that I tried again with Seethaler (I couldn’t grasp the appeal of A Whole Life), because The Tobacconist is one of the few best novels I’ve read this year, and very much a book for our times despite being set in 1937–8.

Seventeen-year-old Franz Huchel’s life changes for good when his mother sends him away from his quiet lakeside village to work for her old friend Otto Trsnyek, a Vienna tobacconist. “In [Franz’s] mind’s eye the future appeared like the line of a far distant shore
...more
·Karen·
Come away with me...

To the Attersee

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

To Vienna in 1938: the NSDAP force Jews to scrub the pavements clean of political slogans. The ones they don't approve of, presumably.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Come away with me, young Franz says to Anezka.
Too late. Anezka has chosen to guarantee her survival, and Franz is not the one to protect her.
Sigmund Freud has chosen to guarantee his survival and escapes to London.
Franz is left adrift in Vienna like a rudderless boat on a vast lake. But 1938 is not a time that allows
...more
Gemma
Quirky and charming. At times this is almost Kafkaesque in its surreal atmosphere. This is a miniaturist view of world war two largely narrated through the eyes of Franz. At seventeen Franz leaves his idyllic home in the Austrian lake district to work in a tobaconist's in Vienna, owned by a veteran of the first world. Among the customers is Sigmund Freud. Soon Franz is in need of romantic advice and he and Freud strike up a bond. It is 1937 and when the Nazis gain power everything changes. Under ...more
Sarah
More of a 2.5

After all the glowing reviews here on Goodreads this was a real let down.

I didn’t know what to expect going in to this, but it’s a pretty standard WWII story, set in Austria. It’s fine, that’s about as glowing as I’m going to get in this review. The writing isn’t bad, but I didn’t love it as much as others.

And now on to the bad... First off, the character development was pretty much non existent. I spent over 200 pages with Franz, the protagonist, and all I could tell you about him
...more
Sally Green
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. Perfect to read in these times of political upheaval.
Franz is a teenage boy trying to find his way in a turbulent world (Austria in 1938) and he finds love and loss but also his creativity in the fragments of his dreams that he attaches to the tobacconist shop window. I loved A Whole Life but think I love this story even more because of Franz and the social issues the story raises.
This is my favourite read so far this year, which I'm surprised by as I didn't think anything would
...more
G.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5/5

A Whole Life was a tiny gem of a novel, so I was very excited to read The Tobacconist. Sadly, it turned out to be a disappointment. It's like Seethaler wasn't really sure where to go with it, so it ended up being neither here nor there.
Vanessa
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book went from what could have been a four star read to a two star in the end. I don't know, maybe I'm just tired, but all the lovely writing in the world can't bring me round to a predominantly dull and plotless story with beige characters and some sort of weird insta-love. I much preferred Seethaler's other book translated to English, A Whole Life. This one didn't quite hit the spot sadly.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
A moving tale about a wide-eyed 17-year-old country lad with a great ass (you really need to read this book now, don't you?) who finds himself plunked down in Venice in the darkening months and weeks before Hitler overruns the country. It's not the masterpiece that A Whole Life is, and I myself could have done without Freud being a character, but no matter: I absolutely loved this novel.
Bart
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2019-read
Actual rating: 2.50
Richard Newton
I seem to be in the minority in terms of an opinion on this book. So don't necessarily take my word for it! Overall: not bad, but nothing special.

Unlike many other reviewers, I did not think this was an exceptional book in any way. The concept was good and it could have been made into something great, but was let down by rather average writing and poor characterisation. I did not warm to the central character, and felt the portrayal of Freud especially weak. (If you are going to use real
...more
Aimee Bratt
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just perfect. Beautiful, visceral, radiant, melancholy. Everything I long for in a book. Novellas can be tricky to do a story justice, Seethaler has definitely mastered the form.
Thomas Hübner
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
http://www.mytwostotinki.com/?p=3102

The Tobacconist (Der Trafikant) is after A Whole Life (Ein ganzes Leben) the second novel by Robert Seethaler that was published in English translation. I read it in the original German, therefore my review cannot do justice to the English translation.

The year is 1937. Franz Huchel, the main character of the book, is a 17-year-old from the Austrian countryside, who grows up as a single child of a single mother. At the beginning of the book, Franz is very much
...more
Noelia Alonso
What can I say? I loved this. I had high expectations and they were met. There is something about Seethaler's way of telling a story that just works for me. I was completely hooked and couldn't stop reading until the end.
Tripfiction
Novel set in pre-WW2 VIENNA



My eye was drawn to this book when I saw a lovely display in my local Waterstone’s bookshop, Fiction Book of the Month, April 2017.

It is a gentle story set at not so gentle times. Franz Huchel is a 17 year old young man, who leaves all he has known in the Salzkammergut, to work in the big city, Vienna. There, his mother has arranged an apprenticeship with an old friend Otto Trsynek who runs a tobacconist shop on the Währingerstrasse (that’s the 9th District in the
...more
Grace Mc
I read this book in the summer haze of post-finals life. I picked it up because I thought the cover looked pretty and I hadn't read a story set during WWII in a long time. This book is undoubtedly some kind of flawed masterpiece. The writing is enchanting and the translation is amazing- I can barely fathom the talent that brought this book to life under a translator's hand. It has a lot of beautiful, brilliant passages and is reminiscent of shattered youth and lost love.

But it does have flaws.

...more
Joanna Flis
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Small masterpiece. Morning in tears.
Juuli
Great book about becoming of age, first love, and choices people make.

I decided to change my raiting from 4 to 5 stars. The reason is simple enough. I can't stop thinking about the story. It haunts me all the time. My friend tells me that it's called book hangover and it will pass one day. I really hope it's going to happen soon because I have a shelf full of books I want to read but this one has its hooks in me and won't let go.
Pascale
Jul 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Hyde
Well it didn't do it for me! So many good reviews but I found it far too simplistic, with no real dynamic, characters with no real depth, and was written with a style that doesn't work for me, certainly no masterpiece as far as I was concerned.
Sid Nuncius
I thought The Tobacconist was excellent. I was wary of it because it reflects closely in time and place some of my family's most harrowing history, meaning that if it were badly done I would hate it. In fact, it is exceptionally well done, and one of the best novels I have read about the onset of Nazism.

Part of the reason it is so good is that although it is set in Vienna in 1937 and 1938 around the time of the Anschluss, the main story is of the coming of age of Franz, a young, naïve country
...more
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

Gosh, the book bingo category ‘a forgotten classic’ had me stumped, this one was the hardest of all the squares in the bingo challenge. The last bingo square for this year and I seriously wanted to give it the flick as I had no idea what qualified as a forgotten classic, a quick search on Google led me to the Pan Macmillan website and one of their featured ‘forgotten classics’ book was The Tobacconist, by the time I realised it was more of an undiscovered gem rather than a forgotten classic it
...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This book didn’t grab me the way his other book, A Whole Life, did. Nevertheless, Seethaler’s writing is so good that it has to be a pick. He also has a way of making the reader really know his characters intimately and care for them like a friend.
Fragmentage
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like Seethaler's writing a lot.
Becky
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This doesn't have the simple pure beauty of A Whole Life, however it does have the Vienna that I know and love so that is massively in its favour. It is a more complex story than you would get from first glance, and pulls in threads of loyalty and the betrayal/complicity in the Anschluß. It is a moving story, that has some very funny, very human moments.
Jane
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jane by: Juuli
Shelves: eesti-keeles, 2016
Actual rating 3.5 stars. This review was originally posted HERE.

Usually I am not very interested in books about this time period (the time of World Wars) despite the fact that this time period had a lot of stuff going on. I am simply not interested in finding out how people were ostrasized and tortured and killed ... in general, I do not want to read about bad stuff happening to people. I usually prefer my literature to steer clear of real historical events and mostly to steer very, very, very
...more
Joy Stephenson
Sep 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin
In the months leading up to Hitler's occupation of Austria, seventeen-year-old boy with soft hands and an innocent, unformed mind leaves his home on the Austrian lakes for an apprenticeship in Vienna, embracing there the diversity and expansiveness of city life. He meets and befriends Freud, has a sexual awakening, and generally angsts his way into an early adulthood as the world around him begins to darken and fall apart.

The concept and plotting of the novel feels awkwardly contrived. Let's
...more
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Robert Seethaler is an Austrian living in Berlin and is the author of four previous novels. A Whole Life is his first work to be translated into English and is already a German bestseller, selling over 100,000 copies. The book has been translated from its original German by Charlotte Collins.
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“Immerhin kommen mir die meisten Wege schon irgendwie bekannt vor. Aber eigentlich ist es ja gar nicht unsere Bestimmung, die Wege zu kennen. Es ist gerade unsere Bestimmung, sie nicht zu kennen. Wir kommen nicht auf die Welt, um Antworten zu finden, sondern um Fragen zu stellen. Man tapst sozusagen in einer immerwährenden Dunkelheit herum, und nur mit viel Glück sieht man machmal ein Lichtlein aufflammen. Und nur mit viel Mut oder Beharrlichkeit oder Dummheit oder am besten mit allem zusammen kann man hie und da selber ein Zeichen setzen!” 2 likes
“Es gibt so viele Sorten Traurigkeit, wie es Lebensstunden gibt. Und wahrscheinlich noch ein paar mehr. Da ist es egal, ob Du weißt, woher diese oder jene Traurigkeit kommt. Das gehört zu unserem Leben.” 2 likes
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