Go, Went, Gone | Granta

  • Published: 07/09/2017
  • ISBN: 9781846276217
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages

Go, Went, Gone

Jenny Erpenbeck

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

One of the great contemporary European writers takes on Europe’s biggest issue

Richard has spent his life as a university professor, immersed in the world of books and ideas, but now he is retired, his books remain in their packing boxes and he steps into the streets of his city, Berlin. Here, on Oranienplatz, he discovers a new community — a tent city, established by African asylum seekers. Hesitantly, getting to know the new arrivals, Richard finds his life changing, as he begins to question his own sense of belonging in a city that once divided its citizens into them and us.

At once a passionate contribution to the debate on race, privilege and nationality and a beautifully written examination of an ageing man’s quest to find meaning in his life, Go, Went, Gone showcases one of the great contemporary European writers at the height of her powers.

Erpenbeck is becoming one of Europe's most highly regarded writers, perpetually striving to create an artistic prism through which to interpret history's arc... Superbly translated by her usual collaborator Susan Bernofsky [...] there is a melancholic undertone to the novel, murmuring beneath its condensed, liquid prose. Deceptively unhurried, yet undeniably urgent, this is Erpenbeck's most significant work to date

Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

Europe's outstanding literary seer, Jenny Erpenbeck's new novel resonates with an unexpected simplicity that is profound, unsettling and subtle. Astutely translated by Susan Bernofsky [...] Erpenbeck's powerful tale, delivered in a wonderfully plain, candid tone, is both real and true. It will alert readers, make us more aware and, it is to be hoped, more human

Eileen Battersby, Guardian

A remarkable novel which questions our understanding of borders and identity and which calls above all for compassion

Annie Rutherford, Skinny

The Author

Jenny Erpenbeck is the author of Go, Went, Gone and The End of Days, which received the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Her collection of essays Not a Novel, translated from the German by Kurt Beals, will be published by Granta Books.

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The Translator

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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From the Same Author

Jenny Erpenbeck on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | Granta 152

Open Bookkeeping

Jenny Erpenbeck

‘I write an obituary that appears in the newspaper that she always used to read while drinking her afternoon tea. I receive €170.03 for the obituary.’
Translated from the German by Kurt Beals.