- Hardcover: 190 pages
- Publisher: Eichborn Verlag (February 1, 2008)
- Language: German
- ISBN-10: 3821857730
- ISBN-13: 978-3821857732
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,781,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Heimsuchung (German) Hardcover – February 1, 2008
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The German title of this novella - Heimsuchung - could be translated as 'Haunting' or 'Revenance" as aptly as the English title "Visitation". All the episodes of the book occur in a summer house on the shore of a glacier-formed lake in he Mark Brandenburg north of Berlin, and each episode recounts the transit of a 'feeling' presence, a human, in the feelingless landscape. Even the house begins as raw materials clipped from nature and ends as rubble returned to nature. How ingenuous it is to claim "ownership" of a place! We are all 'subtenants' and 'illegitimate owners' like the unnamed but sharply individualized characters who live in, visit, re-visit, and leave. We aren't built to endure. Even the solid house endures less than a century. Even the glaciers melted and receded. This book is a parable of our beautiful comfortless insignificance.
Author Jenny Erpenbeck may owe some stylistic influence to the Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878-1956), though I'm sure other readers will scoff at that suggestion.Read more ›
The "Girl ", who ponders these questions, is one of the protagonists in Jenny Erpenbeck's innovative and powerful novel Heimsuchung (translated expertly into "Visitation" by Susan Bernofksy). Memories of innocent excitement and youthful happiness, of arriving, settling down, and then having to leave again and of families and people loved and lost form the core of the story. Everything is centred around a lake-side summer house, surrounded by expansive woods and gardens in the region just east of Germany's capital, Berlin, affording it the role as the central character and integrating force of the narrative. Using her zooming lens, the author condenses many decades of twentieth century German history into time-specific, intricate and intimate glimpses into the lives of twelve different residents and their families living on the property. While the owners build and add to the house, change it and its grounds over time, leaving visible marks and impressions, they are in turn impacted by the environment and the historical events occurring beyond it.
Starting out more like a fairy-tale, the novel gains intensity as it progresses: the portraits become more intense, reaching deeper into the background of the individuals, also relating their actions to specific historical time periods of the last decades: from the Weimar Republic, through the Nazi regime and the Holocaust, War and Soviet occupation, to Socialist East Germany and Fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond.Read more ›