"The Impossible Exile is a meditation on the catastrophic exile of one of the most famous writers of the first half of the 20th Century—the Viennese cosmopolitan author Stefan Zweig. Zweig’s immense popularity, affluence, constellation of friendships with leading intellectuals of the era, and dedication to promoting humanist causes, such as Pan-Europeanism and pacifism, make his story especially resonant. He was not only someone who felt absolutely at home all across the Continent, he was also among the signal architects of European culture at a critical juncture before Hitler’s ascendancy. Zweig thus understood that he’d shaped aspects of the very culture that repudiated him. This made the betrayal of the values he’d sought to promote all the more anguishing—while also raising questions about his unintentional complicity in some of the intellectual currents that turned dark. I came to realize that in trying to understand Zweig’s exile one could also investigate the roots of a larger transformation of values that continues to unfold around us today."
"[Mainardi] picks the world up and erects it as a monument of meaning to his own son."
"What matters here, regardless of the gravity of the subject — because if Auschwitz had killed only one person on the grounds of ethnicity or religious belief, the mere existence of such a place would be just as appalling — what matters is that any lie or imprecision, however small or large, would make no difference to my father, because for him Auschwitz was never a place, a historical fact or an ethnic debate, but a concept in which one believes or ceases to believe simply because one chooses to."