The Old Child And The Book Of Words | Granta

  • Published: 07/11/2024
  • ISBN: 9781846276767
  • Granta Books
  • 192 pages

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.

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). as well as Not a Novel: Collected Writings and Reflections (2020). Her work is translated into over thirty languages.

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The Translator

Susan Bernofsky is the prizewinning translator of works by Robert Walser, Yoko Tawada, Jenny Erpenbeck, Franz Kafka, and Hermann Hesse. A Guggenheim, Cullman, and Berlin Prize fellow, she teaches literary translation at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Her book Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser, was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. She is currently working on a new translation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.

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From the Same Author

Jenny Erpenbeck on

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.