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A superb, even supreme example of exciting international fiction. Jenny Erpenbeck, daughter of a philosopher father and a mother who translates from the Arabic, is a dreamer, a thinker and artist.

NPR Choice page

She is also an east Berliner and this is a very German book; it is also a consummately European work with all the force of history. What if? What if a death did not happen? What if a life took another direction?

Enya - Book Of Days (video)

How many times does the same person become different people; daughter, mother, grandmother? So many changing roles, and all over the course of a life, one life, several lives.

Book Review: 'A Reader's Book of Days' by Tom Nissley

Berliner Jenny Erpenbeck brings lyric art, philosophical speculation and the weight of history to her brilliant, metaphysical fictions. The End of Days is about lives not lived and it pursues contrasting possibilities. This footstool was the one thing she asked for when her grandmother offered to give her something for her new home. The chance death of a child is the dynamic which sets off a series of lives, variations of what could have happened.

Erpenbeck is a virtuoso, she tosses images, frees them as if they were birds and she allows them to make a pattern, so many ripples, snatches of anecdotes, facts, bound volumes of the works of Goethe, ambivalence as well as artful, always deliberate repetition. A family history crossed with a fairy tale and executed with a dream-like precision which suggests a visionary allure.

Did she live? Did she die? Technically The End of Days is watery and implied, a work of art, a piece of theatre. Erpenbeck is a theatre director and this is evident in her impressionistic approach. Much is implied, less of it explained. The End of Days is a chilling and profound tapestry woven through the agonies of 20th-century European history. A memory becomes a punch to the heart.


The allusive narrative is ambitious and extraordinarily sophisticated and is constructed in movements inspired by music. A death in Galicia is followed by hardship in Vienna. The desk is in Moscow. From a baby lying in her grave to an old woman staring at another, her own, this novel is a communal journey.

A Booke of Days: A Novel of the Crusades

Erpenbeck, daughter of a philosopher father and a mother who translates from the Arabic, is a dreamer, a thinker and artist. It is as light as a dream and as heavy as real life. German-language writing has a unique blend of edgy intellectualism and a poignant romanticism. This is a miracle of a prose work. The Old Child is a fable; a young outcast girl suffers at school, she has no history; she is bullied and disbelieved, she is marginalised, confused. She is institutionalised. At the end of the book when is has become clear what her experiences symbolised, she is presented with an old woman.

And suddenly it was no longer a dream. Sebald and Hofmann both won posthumously. This is a superb, even supreme example of exactly how exciting international fiction is; how fortunate it is that there are literary translators capable of honouring the original language and filtering such wonderful works through to wider audiences. About A Map of Days The instant bestseller! Listen to a sample from A Map of Days. Also by Ransom Riggs. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download Hi Res.

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