A Postcard from the Volcano

A Novel of Pre-War Germany

$19.95 Paperback
In stock

Other Editions and Formats
Product Details
  • Product Code: PVP
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781586172695
  • Pages: 520
  • Availability: In stock
  • Publication date: March 09, 2009
  • Weight: 26 oz
  • All Categories
    Fiction-Literature > Historical

Discussion Guide


Beginning in 1914 and ending on the eve of World War II, this epic story follows the coming of age and early manhood of the Prussian aristocrat, Max von Hofmannswaldau. From the idyllic surroundings of his ancestral home to the streets of cosmopolitan Breslau menaced by the Nazi SS, Hofmannswaldau uncovers the truth about his own identity and confronts the modern ideologies that threaten the annihilation of millions of people.

A Postcard from the Volcano opens with the outbreak of World War I and the Prussian pride and patriotism that blind the noble von Hofmannswaldau family to the destruction that lies ahead for their country. The well-researched narrative follows the young count as he leaves home to finish his education and ends up a stranger in the land of his birth.

Both intelligent and sensitive, Beckett’s prose explores the complex philosophical and political questions that led Europe into a second world war, while never losing sight of a man whose life is shaped by his times. A deeply moving historical novel that shows the horrific impact that two world wars had on whole countries, and how individuals struggled to deal with the incredible challenges presented by such devastation.

Lucy Beckett

Lucy Beckett lives in Yorkshire and was educated at Cambridge University. For many years she was a professor of literature at Ampleforth Abbey. Her books include In the Light of Christ, a comprehensive study of the Western literary tradition; The Time before You Die, a novel about the English Reformation; and A Postcard from the Volcano. These have been warmly praised on both sides of the Atlantic. She is married and has four children. 

“Written with beautiful prose, a great pleasure to read. The prose is in the service of immense themes -but always in the context of a skillfully handled and greatly moving human drama. A gigantic, and splendid, piece of work.” 
-Thomas Howard author, On Being Catholic

“In this extraordinary work, the mysteries of faith and hope and love, prevailing in a time of radical fear, teach us how to find our own humanity.” 
-Michael D. O’Brien author, Father Elijah

“This astonishing novel is meat for the mind and manna for the soul.”
-Joseph Pearce author, The Quest for Shakespeare