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All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski

All for Nothing

All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski
Feb 13, 2018 | 368 Pages
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    Feb 13, 2018 | 368 Pages

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    Feb 13, 2018 | 368 Pages

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“Kempowski’s novel represents one of the culminating achievements of that postwar German self-reckoning, that political and literary renegotiation of the past that has produced important work by Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, W. G. Sebald, and, lately, Erpenbeck herself. We know that such reckoning required a delicate calculus, ‘beyond all political affiliation.’ Sebald, in the lectures on the Allied bombing of German cities that he delivered in 1997 (later published under the title “On the Natural History of Destruction”), argued that the ‘national humiliation felt by millions in the last years of the war’ was the reason that ‘no one, to the present day, has written the great German epic of the wartime and postwar periods.’ A little less than a decade later, but too late for poor Sebald, Walter Kempowski beautifully proved him wrong.” —James Wood, The New Yorker

“A crystalline translation by Anthea Bell…All for Nothing isn’t easily appropriated by any ideology. Kempowski’s sympathy for the suffering of his characters and his acknowledgment of the attendant destruction of their civilization are diffused by a fine-grained ambivalence…As a literary response to a long-buried collective trauma, All for Nothing is well worth reading…” —The New York Times

“Memorable and monumental: a book to read alongside rival and compatriot Günter Grass’s Tin Drum as a portrait of decline and fall.” —Kirkus starred review
All for Nothing is a beautiful, forgiving and compassionate book that looks beyond the futile divisions people make between themselves. It reaches its last devastating line with poetic sensibility and the grace of a classical tragedy, confirming Kempowski as a truly great writer.” —Carol Birch, The Guardian
“Beneath its apparently affectless façade, All for Nothing seethes with human drama, contradiction and complexity. No one is blameless; no one wholly unsympathetic. The result is an astonishing literary achievement.” —Toby Lichtig, The Telegraph
“Kempowski’s idiosyncratic genius lies in his ability to weave this accumulation of human fallibility into something greater. His perspective on a grim slice of history steadily broadens out to become visionary, lending his novel the irresistible pull of great tragedy.” —The Economist
“Far more than a great German novel; Kempowski’s late masterwork is a universal tract which suggests that history can only present the facts; it is crafted stories such as this which enable us to grasp a sense of the vicious reality of war.” —Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

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