New Directions, 9780811218351, 192pp.
Publication Date: September 30, 2010
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A bestseller in Germany, Visitation has established Jenny Erpenbeck as one of Europe’s most significant contemporary authors.
A forested property on a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin lies at the heart of this darkly sensual, elegiac novel. Encompassing over one hundred years of German history, from the nineteenth century to the Weimar Republic, from World War II to the Socialist German Democratic Republic, and finally reunification and its aftermath, Visitation offers the life stories of twelve individuals who seek to make their home in this one magical little house. The novel breaks into the everyday life of the house and shimmers through it, while relating the passions and fates of its inhabitants. Elegant and poetic, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the last century, tearing open wounds and offering moments of reconciliation, with its drama and its exquisite evocation of a landscape no political upheaval can truly change.
About the Author
Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.
Praise For Visitation…
Berlin Wall. Wonderful German prose.
Jenny Erpenbeck's writing is a lure that leads us—off-centre, as one travels into a vortex—into the most haunted and haunting territory. This is a novel of profound clarity and precise grief.
— Anne Michaels, Author of Fugitive Pieces
The brutality of her subjects, combined with the fierce intelligence
and tenderness at work behind her restrained unvarnished prose, is
— Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love
Jenny Erpenbeck is the rising star of the German literary scene.
Erpenbeck will get under your skin.
Bernofsky’s translation vividly captures the rhythm of Erpenbeck’s original and allows us to experience this stunning parable of change and brevity in all its beauty and wonder.
Erpenbeck’s voice is fresh and independent and very convincing.
— Frederike Knabe
Visitation adds to her compact scenarios something intangible and enormous, which works on them from outside their modest frames with a force eroding human history and its claims to establish durable meaning.