It's the summer of 1936, and the writer Stefan Zweig is in crisis. His German publisher no longer wants him, his marriage is collapsing, and his home in Austria has been seized. He's been dreaming of Ostend, the Belgian beach town - a paradise of promenades, parasols, and old friends. So he journeys there with his new lover, Lotte Altmann, and reunites with his fellow writer and close friend Joseph Roth, himself newly in love. For a moment, they create a fragile paradise. But as Europe begins to crumble around them, the writers find themselves trapped on holiday, in exile, watching the world burn. In Summer Before the Dark, Weidermann lyrically recounts a pivotal time in our cultural history, when a coterie of artists, intellectuals, drunks, revolutionaries and madmen found themselves in limbo while Europe teetered on the edge of fascism and total war.