Visitation | Granta

  • Published: 02/08/2018
  • ISBN: 9781846276743
  • 129x20mm
  • 176 pages

Visitation

Jenny Erpenbeck

Translated by Susan Bernofsky

By the side of a lake in Brandenburg, a young architect builds the house of his dreams – a summerhouse with wrought-iron balconies, stained-glass windows the colour of jewels, and a bedroom with a hidden closet, all set within a beautiful garden. But the land on which he builds has a dark history of violence that began with the drowning of a young woman in the grip of madness and that grows darker still over the course of the century: the Jewish neighbours disappear one by one; the Red Army requisitions the house, burning the furniture and trampling the garden; a young East German attempts to swim his way to freedom in the West; a couple return from brutal exile in Siberia and leave the house to their granddaughter, who is forced to relinquish her claim upon it and sell to new owners intent upon demolition. Reaching far into the past, and recovering what was lost and what was buried, Jenny Erpenbeck tells a story both beautiful and brutal, about the things that haunt a home.

A stunning novel about the illusion of ownership

Tom Sutcliffe, Saturday Review, BBC Radio 4

One of the finest, most exciting authors alive... In Visitation, the achievement and resonance are massive... The amount of emotional engagement Erpenbeck manages to win from us, in a mere 150 pages, is just one proof of her mastery. An extraordinarily strong book by a major German author, ingeniously translated, produced with love.

Michel Faber, Guardian

Visitation has the epic trajectory of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. This impressive achievement is a deeply engaging panorama of Germany's troubling 20th-century history.

Financial Times

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 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.