Close to Jedenew

Close to Jedenew

by Kevin Venneman
     
 

On this evening, on the last evening, it is Antonina who says softly: They're coming.

It begins like a classic German fable: Children from the rural village of Jedenew, Poland, get together late at night to play together in the dark woods. But their game is to pretend they live in the imaginary world of the Jedenew that came before them-when it wasn't

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Overview

On this evening, on the last evening, it is Antonina who says softly: They're coming.

It begins like a classic German fable: Children from the rural village of Jedenew, Poland, get together late at night to play together in the dark woods. But their game is to pretend they live in the imaginary world of the Jedenew that came before them-when it wasn't occupied by the Nazis, and their Jewish friends weren't mysteriously disappearing one by one.

Kevin Vennemann's writing-already a sensation with the major publishing houses of Europe-is evocative of W.G. Sebald for its lyrical style and bold intelligence. The innovative simultaneous plot-consisting of the real and imaginative world of the children-has earned comparison to the piercing analogies of Kafka. But the accessible and absorbing narrative of Close to Jedenew, as well as its beautifully lush prose, signals the emergence of one of the most original and masterful young writers to appear in decades.

The Contemporary Art of the Novella series is designed to highlight work by major authors from around the world. In most instances, as with Imre Kertész, it showcases work never before published; in others, books are reprised that should never have gone out of print. It is intended that the series feature many well-known authors and some exciting new discoveries. And as with the original series, The Art of the Novella, each book is a beautifully packaged and inexpensive volume meant to celebrate the form and its practitioners.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Kevin Vennemann's Close To Jedenew

"Vennemann intertwines the tenderest memories of childhood and friendship with the denial that the murderers have already entered the house. Who would have thought the novel capable of this profoundly original way to examine anti-Semitism and the formation of atrocity?"
—Lore Segal, author of Lucinella, also in "The Contemporary Art of The Novella" series

"A stunning debut."
Die Zeit

"It is a harrowing, remarkable, serious novel, in part because it is not a guilty one"
Nextbook

Publishers Weekly

Setting this haunting, stream-of-consciousness tale in a generic rural Polish village (jeden in German means "every"), Vennemann writes in the first-person voice of an unnamed 16-year-old Jewish girl, who recounts the German army's arrival there at the beginning of WWII. Up to that point, her family of non-practicing Jews has been living among the Polish farmers in an uneasy détente. Beloved elder brother Marek, an apprentice to his father's veterinarian practice, has converted to Catholicism in order to marry Antonina, pregnant with their daughter, Julia. But when the Germans take over the village houses, the Polish villagers turn into a drunken, raging mob, and the family takes refuge in their tree house. Tales of love and adventure recounted countless times by the father and Marek sustain the family as they anxiously await their fate, while a foreboding sense of fried circuitry and doom infuses their telling. Masterly and chilling, Vennemann's work captures a small moment of humanity within a larger machinery of evil and hate. (Aug.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933633398
Publisher:
Melville House Publishing
Publication date:
02/01/2008
Series:
Contemporary Art of the Novella Series
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
4.80(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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