Kairos | Granta

  • Published: 11/04/2024
  • ISBN: 9781783786138
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages


Jenny Erpenbeck

Translated by Michael Hofmann

Berlin. 11 July 1986. They meet by chance on a bus. She is a young student, he is older and married. Theirs is an intense and sudden attraction, fuelled by a shared passion for music and art, and heightened by the secrecy they must maintain. But when she strays for a single night he cannot forgive her and a dangerous crack forms between them, opening up a space for cruelty, punishment and the exertion of power. And the world around them is changing too: as the GDR begins to crumble, so too do all the old certainties and the old loyalties, ushering in a new era whose great gains also involve profound loss.
From a prize-winning German writer, this is the intimate and devastating story of the path of two lovers through the ruins of a relationship, set against the backdrop of a seismic period in European history.

Erpenbeck has proved time and again that she is a fearless, astute examiner of a country's soul... Kairos powerfully examines individual as well as collective history

Catherine Taylor, Economist

An ambitious story of love and betrayal

Irish Times

Carefully structured and [...] emotionally resonant... As ever with Erpenbeck, history makes mincemeat of those swept along in its wake: which is to say, all of us. Kairos furthers the conviction that Erpenbeck is a dead cert for a future Nobel prize

John Self, Guardian

The Author

Jenny Erpenbeck is the author of The Old Child & The Book of Words (2008), Visitation (2010) and The End of Days (2014, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize), and Go, Went, Gone (2017). as well as Not a Novel: Collected Writings and Reflections (2020). Her work is translated into over thirty languages.

More about the author →

The Translator

Michael Hofmann is a poet, translator and critic. His latest book of poems is One Lark, One Horse. He recently translated Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel Kairos.

More about the translator →

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.