Overseas, Jenny Erpenbeck’s latest novel has carried her to fresh levels of acclaim. She’s won not only the Thomas Mann Prize, in her native Germany, but also Italy’s Strega Europeo, something of a Booker for the Continent. Now the book is out in this country, under the title Go, Went, Gone, and though Erpenbeck’s four previous have won critical esteem—the New York Review of Books deemed her last novel “ferocious as well as virtuosic”—here, too, the new work could well generate broader recognition.
In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkey’s international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliché that Istanbul was the bridge between East and West. At first, my family was not exactly thrilled for me; New York had been vile enough in their minds. My brother’s reaction to the news that I won this generous fellowship was something like, “See? I told you she was going to get it,” as if it had been a threat he’d been warning the home front about. My
A pregnant couple transitioning from a single room situation to an extra room situation . . . a pair of grown siblings who’d already evacuated their geriatric parents into a nursing home from out of a classic 6 condo they were looting. . . The customers: they’d be leading the way in a taxi up front and the moving truck, a boxtruck or tractortrailer, would follow just behind—taking the transverse through the Park, crosstown. From where the sun rises on the Upper East, to where it sets on the
The basement felt warmer than the garage. Down the Kagwa boys went. The basement sat as one grand open plane. In the far corner stood the boiler—a large white cylinder with a blue control panel, copper pipes running up into the ceiling and a silver tube running outside through the wall. It looked like something from the set of James Whale’s Frankenstein. The boiler rumbled now as if reanimating life. In the opposite corner sat the washing machine and the dryer, and beside the two machines lay
I remember exactly where I was on that sunny day in 2007 when it was reported that inter-bank lending had frozen. Bankers knew that their peers were bust, and could not be trusted to honour their obligations. I then naively believed that friends would get the message. I also hoped in vain that the economics profession as a whole would add its voice to those few that warned of catastrophe. Not so. Apart from readers of the Financial Times, and of course some speculators in the finance sector
It was not just the suddenness of his death that made it hard to realize Louis Kahn was gone. Something about the way he disappeared from the world—irregularly, mysteriously, with that strange two-day gap when nobody he knew could find him—left many people unable to take in the facts of his death. For the California relatives, who learned about Lou’s death through a series of relayed phone calls, there was a persistent confusion about where and how he had died. Decades later, Kahn’s niece,
That summer I would ride my bike over the bridge, lock it up in front of one of the bars on Orchard Street and drift through the city on foot, recording. People and places. Sidewalk smokers, lovers’ quarrels, drug deals. I wanted to store the world and play it back just as I’d found it, without change or addition. I collected audio of thunderstorms, music coming out of cars, the subway trains rumbling underfoot; it was all reality, a quality I had lately begun to crave, as if I were deficient in
Mar 22 2017

The Walk

Deb Olin Unferth

The idea was to go for a walk: the baby in a stroller, the child by the hand, the path straight and scenic, the weather warm and breezy, the family fine and in good humor. But the dog got too hot and lay panting on the ground, and they'd forgotten again to bring the water. The baby (Kryptonite, they called her) was in one of her moods, weeping on and off, refusing to sit in the stroller, tugging off her hat and throwing it into the dirt, so that they had to stop every few yards, retrieve the
Novelist, poet, and translator Harry Mathews died on January 25 of this year. Born in New York City in 1930, he studied music at Harvard, and after moving to France in the '50s, started writing fiction, publishing his first novel, The Conversions, in 1962. His capacity for literary invention seemed limitless, writing works full of eccentric twists, puzzles, and James-ian eloquence. He became the only American member of the Oulipo, a group that included Raymond Quenuau and other avant-garde
Feb 1 2017

The Officers' Club

Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

The first time I ran away I must have been seven, soon after the victory. In early June I spent several days in the wild. I didn't sleep in Strukovsky Garden: around there, all the usable spots had been defiled; through the cracks in the band shell I could see feces and mold. But I did find a spot—in the director's office at the Officers' Club. Along with other kids, I had learned long since to get in past the guards of the Officers' Club to watch movies and learned to collect bread crumbs from
Advertisement