Close to Jedenew (Hardcover)

By Kevin Venneman, Ross Benjamin (Translator)

Melville House, 9781933633398, 200pp.

Publication Date: June 3, 2008



On this evening, on the last evening, it is Antonina who says softly: They're coming.

It begins like a classic German fable: Children from the rural village of Jedenew, Poland, get together late at night to play together in the dark woods. But their game is to pretend they live in the imaginary world of the Jedenew that came before them-when it wasn't occupied by the Nazis, and their Jewish friends weren't mysteriously disappearing one by one.

Kevin Vennemann's writing-already a sensation with the major publishing houses of Europe-is evocative of W.G. Sebald for its lyrical style and bold intelligence. The innovative simultaneous plot-consisting of the real and imaginative world of the children-has earned comparison to the piercing analogies of Kafka. But the accessible and absorbing narrative of Close to Jedenew, as well as its beautifully lush prose, signals the emergence of one of the most original and masterful young writers to appear in decades.

The Contemporary Art of the Novella series is designed to highlight work by major authors from around the world. In most instances, as with Imre Kertész, it showcases work never before published; in others, books are reprised that should never have gone out of print. It is intended that the series feature many well-known authors and some exciting new discoveries. And as with the original series, The Art of the Novella, each book is a beautifully packaged and inexpensive volume meant to celebrate the form and its practitioners.

About the Author

Kevin Vennemann was born in 1977 in Germany and today lives in Vienna and Paris.

Praise For Close to Jedenew

Praise for Kevin Vennemann's Close To Jedenew

"Vennemann intertwines the tenderest memories of childhood and friendship with the denial that the murderers have already entered the house. Who would have thought the novel capable of this profoundly original way to examine anti-Semitism and the formation of atrocity?"
—Lore Segal, author of Lucinella, also in "The Contemporary Art of The Novella" series

"A stunning debut."
Die Zeit

"It is a harrowing, remarkable, serious novel, in part because it is not a guilty one"