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The writer Felix Hartlaub died in obscurity at just 31, vanishing from Berlin in 1945. He left behind a small oeuvre of private writings from the Second World War: fragments and observations of life from the midst of catastrophe that, with their evocative power and precision, would make a permanent place for him in German letters.
Posted to Paris in 1940 to conduct archival research, Hartlaub recorded his impressions of the unfamiliar city in notebooks that document with unparalleled immediacy the daily realities of occupation. With a painter’s eye for detail, Hartlaub writes of the bustle of civilians and soldiers in cafés, of half-seen trysts during blackout hours and the sublime light of Paris in spring. Appearing in English for the first time, Clouds Over Paris is a unique testament to the persistence of ordinary life through disaster.