Carl Jacob Candoris – 59-year-old mathematician, cosmopolitan, dandy and jazz fan – lays bare his life in this turbulent, touching history of the 20th century. Sebastian Lukasser is a writer and the son of guitarist Georg Lukasser, whom Carl Jacob Candoris first befriended in the jazz clubs of post-war Vienna and supported until the musician's sad demise. Blending his own story with the life of the eccentric Carl Jacob, Sebastian traces a fascinating panorama, as an entire century is mirrored in the history of two very different families. Candoris tells of his grandfather who ran a famous grocer's shop in Vienna and of the strange relatives he stayed with during his studies in Göttingen – where he also met distinguished scientists he would reencounter, years later, in Los Alamos, as "the fathers of the atom bomb". He tells of the War and Europe's destruction and the post-war years, when Sebastian's own story begins. In this interweaving of art and life, of great historical crimes and private responses, of political and personal hopes, the spirits and demons of an entire epoch are illuminated. Rarely has an author presented such a wise and rich novel about our complex lives and times.