National Book Award finalist: This journey through fin-de-siècle Vienna is “a remarkable and unusual slice of history” (Los Angeles Times).
On January 30, 1889, at the champagne-splashed height of the Viennese Carnival, the handsome and charming Crown Prince Rudolf shot and killed his teenage mistress and then himself in a suicide pact. The two shots that rang out at Mayerling in the Vienna Woods echo still.
A Nervous Splendor deftly tells the haunting story of the prince and his city, where, in the span of only ten months, “the Western dream started to go wrong.” Other young men with striking intellectual and artistic talents, all as frustrated as the prince, moved through Vienna during this period—among them a young Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Theodor Herzl, Gustav Klimt, and the playwright Arthur Schnitzler, whose La Ronde was the great erotic drama of the fin de siècle. In this book, the bestselling author of The Rothschilds and Thunder at Twilight creates a portrait of a time and place that is “as lush, beguiling, and charming as an emperor’s waltz” (Publishers Weekly).
“A Nervous Splendor is my favorite book about Vienna.” —John Irving, New York Times–bestselling author of Cider House Rules