Klaus, the core work in this collection, is a a novella that recounts the last days of Klaus Mann's life, while referring back to the trials of the Mann family (Klaus being Thomas Mann's son) and Klaus's own autobiographical novel, Mephisto, one of his better known works partly because it was banned in West Germany for decades for its portrayal of his ex-lover Gustaf Grundgens, before being turned into an Academy Award-winning film. Massie's novella attempts to unlock Klaus's relationship with his father, his former lover and his art. Klaus is an appropriate follow-on from Surviving (Vagabond Voices, 2009) in that writing is a major theme. With his usual thoroughness disguised by concision and a masterly light touch, Massie sets about examining how human relatinoships and artistic endeavour interact, and this book also goes back to those "public" themes that dominate so much of his other works of fiction set in the twentieth century. The novella alone would make this collection worthy of note, but the short stories will also fascinate the many who know Massie's work and admire it. They come from his long writing career and have been published under one cover for the first time.
Klaus and two other stories has just been written, while there are others from the nineties, the eighties and even the seventies.