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The End of Days

The End of Days (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Winner of the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize From one of the most daring voices in European fiction, this is a story of the twentieth century traced through the various possible lives of one woman. She is a baby who barely suffocates in the cradle. Or perhaps not? She lives to become as an adult and dies beloved. Or dies betrayed. Or perhaps not? Her memory is honoured. Or she is forgotten by everyone. Moving from a small Galician town at the turn of the century, through pre-war Vienna and Stalin's Moscow to present-day Berlin, Jenny Erpenbeck homes in on the moments when life follows a particular branch and 'fate' suddenly emerges from the sly interplay between history, character and pure chance. The End of Days is a novel that pulls apart the threads of destiny and allows us to see the present and the past anew.

Fiction & PoetryFiction in translationFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Granta Books Publication Date: 28/05/2015 ISBN-13: 9781846275159  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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JENNY ERPENBECK is the author of Visitation (2010) and The Old Child & The Book of Words (2008), both published by Portobello. Her fiction is published in fourteen languages. SUSAN BERNOFSKY has translated works by Robert Walser, Hermann Hesse, Gregor von Rezzori, Yoko Tawada, Ludwig Harig and Franz Kafka. She is the author of Foreign Words: Translator-Authors in the Age of Goethe and is currently at work on a biography of Robert Walser. Her translation of The Old Child and Other Stories was awarded the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize.

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Staff Choice

2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's demise and a renewed interest in the histories of Central Europe. Susan Bernofsky's translation of Erpenbeck's spectacular novel, therefore, couldn't be more timely. This is audacious stuff: our protagonist dies five times and the story of the German-speaking world in the 20th century is condensed into a mere 238 pages. And the opening chapter - well, it's unbeatable and evidence of a writer at the top of her game. This is a book about borders - between people, between nations and, ultimately, between life and death. It's also a tale of how omissions and absences inform our lives. We have a masterpiece on our hands, folks.
 

Gary, Charing Cross Road

 

'Time to go. Let's go.' The randomness of history is starkly explored in Jenny Erpenbeck's 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize winner, set in a Europe of constantly changing borders and alternative outcomes, which spans the whole of the 20th century. A baby girl is born to a Jewish family in Galicia before dying at eight months. In another version she grows up to be a poverty-stricken yet ebullient young woman in post-World War I Vienna, and in yet another. a communist awaiting arrest in Moscow. At every point this character - a symbol of the haphazardness of fate - either dies or is resurrected in a different incarnation. So many lives within one life, set against a backdrop of volatile events and superbly translated from German by Susan Bernofsky.

Catherine Taylor, Deputy Director at English PEN

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 25/03/2015

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