The End of Days
by Jenny Erpenbeck
translation by Susan Bernofsky
$22.95 List Price
At one point in Jenny Erpenbeck’s remarkable novel, The End of Days (Aller Tage Abend), a boy whose mother has died thinks of how, throughout her life, she had done things for the last time without knowing it. “Death was not a moment but a front,” he thinks, “one that was as long as life.” As in the books of W. G. Sebald, life and death in Erpenbeck’s novel are separated by so thin a membrane as to render both a kind of purgatory. But the coexistence is uneasy—something as immeasurable as death doesn’t seem to fit naturally within the measured limits of a life, nor does the intimate clock of a lifespan appear to synch with that of historical time. In this book, Erpenbeck is most interested in what can be recuperated from the space between.
Published in Germany in 2012 and now available in a careful English
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