A young author shyly turns to Thomas Mann, the Nobel prize laureate for Literature, with his first novel, and is kindly fobbed off. Half a century later, the author himself travels to Stockholm to accept the prize. Elias Canetti occasionally referred to himself as a “bad letter writer”. Despite this, the treasure of his letters has given rise to a unique novel.
Elias Canetti’s astonishing life is depicted as a portrait of the times from a personal perspective: he was deeply connected to the cultural world of post-war Europe, yet as independent as possible from all kinds of movements and leanings. For the first time in nearly 600 letters to companions and friends, critics and readers – as well as colleagues such as Theodor W. Adorno, Jean Améry, Thomas Bernhard, Erich Fried, Ernst Gombrich, Michael Krüger, Claudio Magris, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Hilde Spiel and many others – I Have High Expectations of You follows Canetti’s life, as he reported it to others.