Europe Central

( 8 )

Overview

In this magnificent work of fiction, William T. Vollmann turns his trenchant eye to the authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century. Assembling a composite portrait of these two warring leviathans and the terrible age they defined, the narrative intertwines experiences both real and fictional—a young German who joins the SS to expose its crimes, two generals who collaborate with the enemy for different reasons, the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich laboring under Stalinist ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$15.51
BN.com price
(Save 22%)$20.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (90) from $1.99   
  • New (19) from $3.87   
  • Used (71) from $1.99   
Europe Central

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$16.99
BN.com price

Overview

In this magnificent work of fiction, William T. Vollmann turns his trenchant eye to the authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century. Assembling a composite portrait of these two warring leviathans and the terrible age they defined, the narrative intertwines experiences both real and fictional—a young German who joins the SS to expose its crimes, two generals who collaborate with the enemy for different reasons, the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich laboring under Stalinist oppression. Through these and other lives, Vollmann offers a daring and mesmerizing perspective on human actions during wartime.

Winner of the 2005 National Book Award

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Tom LeClair
Europe Central gives us 37 stories, five of them more than 50 pages long, to represent Central European fanaticism and to recover little-known acts of conscientious resistance to Nazi and Communist totalitarianism. What sets ''Europe Central'' apart from Vollmann's other large-scale historical productions is its strong narrative lines. The pieces are dated and arranged chronologically to give the book a plot that arcs from prewar political machinations to Germany's surge east to Russia's counteroffensive, and that ends with cold war politics in divided Berlin.
— The New York Times
Steven Moore
I've reviewed nearly all of Vollmann's books over the years and am running out of superlatives; suffice it to say, if you've been following his extraordinary career, Europe Central may be his best novel yet.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In the small set of America's best contemporary novelists, Vollmann is the perpetual comet. Every two years or so he flashes across the sky with another incredibly learned, incredibly written, incredibly long novel. Two years ago, with Argall, he easily bested John Barth in the writing of 17th-century prose while taking up the tired story of the settlement of Jamestown and making it absolutely riveting. His latest departs from his usual themes-the borders between natives and Westerners, or prostitutes and johns-to take on Central Europe in the 20th century. "The winged figures on the bridges of Berlin are now mostly flown, for certain things went wrong in Europe...." What went wrong is captured in profiles of real persons (Kathe Kollwitz, Kurt Gerstein, Dmitri Shostakovich, General Paulus and General Vlasov) as well as mythic personages (a shape-shifting Nazi communications officer and creatures from the German mythology Wagner incorporated into his operas). Operation Barbarossa-the German advance into Russia in 1941, and the subsequent German defeat at Stalingrad and Kursk-is central here, with the prewar and postwar scenes radiating out from it, as though the war were primary, not the nations engaged in it. The strongest chapter is a retelling of Kurt Gerstein's life; Gerstein was the SS officer who tried to warn the world about the concentration camps while working as the SS supply agent for the gas chambers. The weakest sections of the book are devoted to the love triangle between Shostakovich, Elena Konstantinovskaya and film director Roman Karmen. Throughout, Vollman develops counternarratives to memorialize those millions who paid the penalties of history. Few American writers infuse their writing with similar urgency. Agent, Susan Golomb. 5-city author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The daring Vollman forges a chain of paired stories highlighting similarities between authoritarian Germany and the USSR. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143036593
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/29/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 832
  • Sales rank: 250,166
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.51 (d)

Meet the Author

William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann is the author of eight novels, three collections of stories, a memoir, and Rising Up and Rising Down, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. Vollman's writing has been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Paris Review, Esquire, Conjunctions, Granta, and many other magazines. He lives in California.

Biography

Fearless, ambitious, and wildly original, William T. Vollmann has been lionized as one of the most significant and influential voices in contemporary postmodernist literature. His dauntingly voluminous books, a hodgepodge of fiction and journalism, are marked by bold, often beautiful language. They also spring from personal experience: Volmann is famous for total immersion in his subjects. His research has taken him to the ends of the earth – to the North Pole, to war zones around the globe, and (perhaps most famously) to San Francisco's notorious Tenderloin district to gain a better understanding of its notorious denizens..

Vollmann roared onto the literary scene in 1987 with You Bright and Risen Angels, a bold and quirky debut novel that chronicled in allegorical fashion the bitter battle between insects and the inventors of electricity. From that point on, his books became less surreal and more gritty. In 1992, he wrote his first "official" work of nonfiction, An Afghanistan Picture Show , an impressionistic chronicle of his experiences among the Afghan rebels in the early 1980s. Since then, the prolific author has produced an unstoppable juggernaut of prose, most notably installments in his towering fictional sequence Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes and a labyrinthine seven-volume treatise on violence called Rising Up, Rising Down. Published by the iconoclastic publishing house McSweeney's in 2003, this magnum opus was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction.

In 1999, The New Yorker named Vollmann one of the 20 best American writers under the age of 40. In 2005, he was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction for Europe Central, a 750-page series of linked stories set in Germany and Russia during World War II. His journalism continues to appear in such magazines as Esquire, Spin, Gear, Outside, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. In addition, he has founded the Co-Tangent Press as a vehicle for publishing his own limited edition art books.

Good To Know

Vollmann wrote his first novel, You Bright and Risen Angels, while working as a computer programmer.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      m the Blind, Captain Subzero
    2. Hometown:
      Sacramento, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 28, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Santa Monica, California
    1. Education:
      Attended Deep Springs College and Cornell University

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2008

    Not For Me!!!

    I can't remember the last time I chose not to complete a book. This would be the first time in about 20 years. I quit reading at page 140. I've been reading primarily award winners and there are too many other good books to read. On the 'reader's sophistication meter', I don't claim to register any higher than a 'C+'. So keep that in mind when I state I found no enjoyment whatsoever in making it to page 140. The book is disjointed, full of reference to obscure persons, 'undefined' pronouns. Very difficult to follow, understand. I regard this book as more of an academic work, almost poetic. Definitely not recreational reading. Vollmann's intent seems to be to display his clever writing style rather than of creating a work for readers to enjoy. If that's what you want, read on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2005

    Amazing.

    I am amazed at the historical details known by the author. However, a minor correction is in order. It was Goebbels and not Goring who had a romantic relationship with the Czech actress Lida Baarova.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2006

    A rich, rewarding, tour de force

    A tour de force without be overwhelming. A narrative in intimately personal and moral terms of the clash of naziism and communism which rent the fabric of Europe, and drew in the world. The term 'historical fiction' does not do it justice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2006

    Unreadable

    Dense, meandering, oppressively boring, often incoherent, bordering on unreadable. The awards are for its subject matter i.e. fascism, creativity, nationalism, individualism, war and art and for the intellectual power of the author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2007

    An immensely rewarding book

    ... for anyone interested in the interplay between fragile humanism and the potentially crushing power of the state. Vollman deftly shows how 20th century fascism and communism were really two sides of the same coin, a coin that rendered individual moral choice, art and meaningful social interaction all but impossible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)