In 1933 the prominent author and political activist Heinrich Mann and his partner Nelly Kroeger were forced to flee Nazi Germany, finding refuge first in France and later, in great despair, in Los Angeles, where Nelly committed suicide in 1944 and Heinrich died in 1950. Using extensive archival research, interviews with descendants, and published sources, Juers portrays their world in exile, focussing on Heinrich and Nelly and their circle, Heinrich's younger brother Thomas Mann, their mother Julia and sister Carla, and friends Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Doeblin and Kurt Tucholsky. Their paths are crossed in turn by those of other writers and artists displaced by war or their beliefs, including James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Else Lasker- Schuler, Robert Musil, Joseph Roth and Kurt Schwitters. Virginia Woolf 's voice is central to the story. House of Exile is a collective portrait, which uses historical, essayistic and emblematic means to recover, from written remains, the courage and defiance of a group shattered by the forces of history, and driven towards isolation and death.