Kairos | Granta

  • Published: 01/06/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783786121
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages

Kairos

Jenny Erpenbeck

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.

Revelling in complexity and ambiguity, Erpenbeck knows that no one is all bad, no state all rotten, and she masterfully captures... existential bewilderment

Anna Katharina Schaffner, TLS

In this granular and, at times, shockingly intimate narrative of an all-consuming love affair that ultimately turns abusive, Jenny Erpenbeck has written an allegory of her nation, a country that has ceased to exist -- East Germany. No writer on the world stage can make the texture and details of individual lives articulate so seamlessly and unobtrusively the way humans are subjects of, and subjected to, history. The ending is like a bomb thrown into your room -- you'll be reeling for days and weeks to come.

Neel Mukherjee

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 →

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.