With a sharp eye for detail and a historian's capacious knowledge, Padraig Rooney has written a superbly amusing guide to all the writers who've been drawn to or emerged from Switzerland. This is a book that should be stuffed into every stocking - the perfect Christmas gift!
Constantly engaging… and highly entertaining. Rooney is almost casually brilliant on Joyce, Nabokov and Mann, but revelatory on such as Durrenmatt and Frisch. He shows a deftness of touch but can, too, be powerful. A love letter to reading that does not shy away from the sins of reality.
An enjoyable wander around literary Switzerland. The Gilded Chalet tracks the snow prints, shattered booze-glasses and missed spy drops of the likes of Rousseau, Byron, Hemingway and le Carré, sniffing the air of inspiration they found in the hills, huts and bars.
A gossipy feel [with a] touch of Clive James in its humour. What has Switzerland ever done for us? Quite a bit.
'A lively and entertaining tour of literary Switzerland. Rooney has an eye for a telling anecdote. Informative and full of surprises, not least the portrait of Switzerland as a hotbed of literature and revolution.’
A fascinating look behind the scenery at how Switzerland has influenced and affected some of the greatest authors and some of my favourite books.
There is a mastery in his handling of prose-rhythm which I find exciting. It is in order for an ageing writer, in a valediction to Irish readers, to essay a prophecy about Irish letters. Mr. Rooney will be a credit to them.
A fascinating account of how Switzerland has always provided something of a refuge for writers - from war, oppression, tuberculosis and even marriage - as well as an inspiration to them too.
The Gilded Chalet entertains, informs and whets the appetite for more. And there are more discoveries in Rooney's tasty assortment of literary bonbons.