The Old Child And The Book Of Words | Granta

The Old Child And The Book Of Words

Jenny Erpenbeck

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

A child is found standing on the street with an empty bucket in her hand and no memory of her name, her family or her past. Elsewhere, a girl grows up surrounded by familiar faces – a wet nurse, a piano teacher, a gardener, a best friend and a distant mother – but soon finds them slipping mysteriously from her life. In the company of these girls, we are compelled to tread the uncertain and spiky terrain of memory, where words are dropped like clues to reveal what has been hidden, forgotten or erased.

  • Published: 01/12/2008
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781846270581
  • 130x20mm, 192 pages

A haunting, offbeat novella of real profundity

Lionel Shriver, author of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

With the detached spare prose and mysterious internal logic of a fairy tale, the writing has a dark, transformative power - it gets into the blood stream and refuses to leave. Beguiling and original

The Times

Intense and beautifully written

Time Out

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). Her fiction has been translated into over 30 languages.

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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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