“Underage whores, opium pipes and absinthe chasers. . . . Thoroughly researched, and well described. The author is bewitched by his subject’s decadence and by the period’s historical detail.”—Financial Times
“[Lewis] Crofts’s debut doesn’t shrink from depicting the squalor of Schiele’s existence and powerfully evokes his uncompromising talent.”—Guardian
“Utterly engrossing. I was drawn into Schiele’s reeling world with its reek of wet paint and sex.”—Jon McGregor, author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
“Lewis Crofts’ poignant debut captures the turbulence, the vividness and the tragedy of Egon Schiele’s life with rare skill and empathy.”—Liz Jensen, author of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax
A Vogue magazine recommended summer read.
A Metro newspaper fiction title of the week.
The Pornographer of Vienna is an acclaimed fictionalized life of Egon Schiele, the great Austrian artist and protégé of Gustav Klimt. Publicly shunned by the very same establishment figures that secretly clamor to buy his erotic, explicit work, Schiele lives a short, intense life against the richly evoked backdrop of the absinthe-soaked, decaying last days of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
In a first novel of rare descriptive power and empathy, fuelled by a blend of research and literary imagination, Lewis Crofts succeeds in evoking the man as well as the artist. The result is a masterful, at times heart-breaking, portrayal of Austria’s most decadent and most misunderstood painter, and of the city that both inspired and destroyed him.
Thirty-year-old debut novelist Lewis Crofts lives in Belgium.