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Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson


Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson
Oct 16, 2018 | 1720 Pages
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    Oct 16, 2018 | 1720 Pages

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    Oct 16, 2018 | 1720 Pages

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“European modernists used the novel as a means of mapping metropolitan experience. From James Joyce’s immortalizing of ‘dear, dirty Dublin’ in Ulysses, to the grimy urban paean of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, to Robert Musil’s elegy for imperial Vienna in The Man Without Qualities, the city was no longer merely decorative scrim but a collaborative possibility, the ideal vessel for consciousness. Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl, a sprawling novel about an East German émigré and her 10-year-old daughter as they navigate life on New York’s Upper West Side, is a natural heir to this tradition…” —Dustin Illingworth, The Atlantic

“This book is truly a masterpiece. . . . It is a record, and an enduring one for our whole post-Hitler era. You have actually made this past tangible and—perhaps a much harder task—you have made it convincing. Now I know how it was and is over there—know it down to the tips of my toes. . . . This seems to be the only appropriate way to speak and think: about great-grandmother and grandmother and mother and child, in the interplay of generations and across two continents.” —Hannah Arendt, February 7, 1972, Letter to Uwe Johnson

“Johnson’s novel is now regarded as a hugely significant work of world literature, and it is indeed huge—some 1,800 pages in the forthcoming two-volume publication from New York Review Books, the first complete publication in English….Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl lives up to the hype. In my reading so far, it’s carefully observed, utterly propulsive and resonant with meaning about a year I remember well, and I can’t wait to finish it, though I concede that it will take some time. The bonus for me is local—Gesine lived 14 blocks south of where I live now—but Johnson’s writing invites everyone into its riches.” —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
“Uwe Johnson is the most incorruptible writer I’ve ever read, always searching for what we so frivolously call the truth. In Anniversaries he approaches this fundamental thing, the truth, from different sides,  across different continents, across time. Page after page, we are shown how we need to see clearly, without prejudice, to think properly. Page after page, thinking with Johnson offers us the greatest of pleasures.” —Jenny Erpenbeck

“A gripping, complex, highly significant work in which the author displays not only his mastery as a storyteller but also his humor, irony, and descriptive power.”  —The New York Times

“Johnson has Balzac’s passion for the telling detail, the revealing exactitude, here a passion that is impelled by the imagination of love. So intensely are the figures imagined—Gesine and her daughter, Gesine’s desolated mother, and all the tribe of Baltic relatives who variously endure and resist the Nazi scourge—that the ballast of Manhattan fact is needed to keep the book on the page, the life in focus, to keep the agony from getting out of drawing.” —Richard Howard

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