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Lost Son is the vivid, haunting story of poet Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the most uniquely sensitive artists of the modern age. From Rilke’s troubled beginnings — reared as a girl until age six, then sent to military school for five miserable years — through his later experiences in the midst of World War I, Lost Son explores how this immensely vulnerable personality struggled to make his way in the modern world, and achieved poetic mastery amidst great personal crises.

Lost Son brings Rilke’s significant relationships powerfully alive, including his close friendships with the sculptor Rodin and the German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker. And at the heart of the novel is Rilke’s legendary attachment to his one-time lover and lifelong muse, the incomparable Lou Andreas-Salomé, confidante of Nietzsche, and later, Freud. More than a fictionalized biography, Lost Son is framed for us by a bewitched young figure traveling in Rilke’s footsteps generations after the poet’s death. The result is a dark and intimate fantasia on Rilke’s art, an exploration of the forever imperfect loyalties one faces in life, and a lyrical meditation upon the distances that can separate life and art.


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