The Book of Words by Jenny Erpenbeck, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Book of Words

The Book of Words

by Jenny Erpenbeck
     
 

A searing novella about coming of age in a land of tyranny, by one of Germany's most brilliant young authors.
In The Book of Words, Jenny Erpenbeck captures with amazing virtuosity the inner life of a young girl who survives the totalitarian regime of a curiously unnamed South American country (most likely Argentina during its "dirty war"). Raised by parents

Overview

A searing novella about coming of age in a land of tyranny, by one of Germany's most brilliant young authors.
In The Book of Words, Jenny Erpenbeck captures with amazing virtuosity the inner life of a young girl who survives the totalitarian regime of a curiously unnamed South American country (most likely Argentina during its "dirty war"). Raised by parents whose real identity ends up shocking her, the girl comes of age in a country where gunshots are mistaken for blown tires, innocent citizens are dragged off buses, and tortured and disappeared friends and family return to visit her from the dead.

Editorial Reviews

Nicole Krauss
“Her restrained unvarnished prose is overwhelming.”
London Times Literary Supplement
“Jenny Erpenbeck should be praised for asking us to learn from the marginalized what the majority apparently will not see.”
Cosmopolitan
“Jenny Erpenbeck is a rising star of the German literary scene.”
Publishers Weekly

German author Erpenbeck (The Old Child & Other Stories) observes the machinations of a repressive political regime through the eyes of an adolescent girl in this slim but dense novella. The story is set in an unnamed tropical capital where the sun always shines (probably Argentina, the translator notes) and narrated by a girl who parrots what she hears from her parents, emigrants from a snowy faraway place very much like Germany: her father is a highly placed minister whose job is to "maintain an equilibrium," that is, to torture people; and her mother is a pampered homemaker who prefers to insulate herself from reality. The young narrator begins to notice how things are changing: shops are closed up, the railroad is abolished, food is rationed and people in her life begin to disappear or are detained and abused by the police. Half-truths, hearsay and speculation form the slippery foundation of the narrator's knowledge, giving readers an intriguing vantage point from which to view a country in turmoil. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811217064
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
12/30/2007
Series:
New Directions Paperbook Series, #1092
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
652,081
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Jenny Erpenbeck was born in East Berlin in 1967. New Directions publishes her books The Old Child & Other Stories, The Book of Words, and Visitation, which NPR called "a story of the century as seen by the objects we've known and lost along the way."

Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >