Results of the Whitbread Book Award in the year 1990.
Set in the 1920s and ‘30s, Hopeful Monsters is the story of two remarkable people: Max, an English student of physics and biology; and Eleanor, a German Jewess who grows up in politically radical circles in Berlin in the ferment that would lead to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II. They meet, love, go their separate ways and come together again during the maelstrom of the Spanish Civil War. The story takes them from Berlin to Cambridge, to Russia, to the Sahara, to a deserted monastery in the Pyrenees—and finally to Los Alamos and the making of the atomic bomb. In the course of their travels they meet many of the century’s giants: Wittgenstein, Einstein, Rosa Luxemburg, Hitler, and several others, making Hopeful Monsters (as one reviewer put it) “a vast work, covering the whole of the twentieth century.”
Startlingly ambitious and profound in its insights, this is Nicholas Mosley’s masterpiece—a novel in which ideas and action combine in a moving and immensely readable narrative.