Salka Viertel was a Jewish actress who emigrated to Hollywood and was popularly known as the screenwriter of the Swedish actress Greta Garbo. Besides, she had a salon in Santa Monica, which was attended by a large part of the European intelligentsia in exile.
The book deals with topics such as Salka Viertel's alleged bisexuality and the number of friends she had, to name but a few: Albert Einstein, Charles Chaplin, Sergei Eisenstein, F. W. Murnau, Max Reinhardt, Arnold Schönberg, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Greta Garbo, Montgomery Clift... Also, like Gertrude Stein and other notorious women, she had her literary salon through which writers like Truman Capote, Christopher Isherwood, Gore Vidal and many other writers passed. Other themes she covers are the Berlin of the 1920s; the transition from silent to spoken film, as seen from the Mecca of Hollywood. Then, the rise of Hitler and what it meant for the Jewish condition; the exile of those intellectuals who could not return to their respective countries because of the Second World War. Later, the Cold War and the witch-hunt against communism. The background to the life of Salka Viertel and her circle of friends encompasses the great events of the 20th century.
Salka was a very modern and interesting woman for her time who should be recognized as such.
"Even though Salka Viertel was such a pivotal figure in the exile community, very little has been written about her, so Núria Añó's book is a corrective, and she fills in many of the gaps of The Kindness of Strangers."—Dialog International
"A very interesting story and I think even in these very current times since in my eyes we have not made much progress on the issue of acceptance of 'interpersonal feelings' in general. A great and extremely interesting book about Hollywood in the thirties and forties about the influence of artists from European countries such as Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, England, Ukraine and others. An extensive and high-quality research project resulting in an in-depth account of many well-known and famous personalities and their interpersonal relationships."—Joannes W. M. Groenewege, Translator