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Heimsuchung (German) Hardcover – February 1, 2008

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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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Format: Hardcover
"Heimsuchung" is a mere 150 pages but a stereopticon of Germany from the 1920s to the 1990s, not explicitly of events but rather of "emotions as history" ... an entrancing book to read, crystal clear in episodes, yet hard to reassemble as narrative, each intimate 'local' episode terminated abruptly by the contingencies of the larger world. And a difficult book to explicate! How can anyone make explicit the "thoughts" of a place or the "memories" in the mind of a house, when places don't think and houses are serendipitous about construction, alteration, demolition? We people who inhabit a place and a house are ourselves just fading memories. Effectively we are the ghosts who haunt the houses we claim to occupy, and we are so easily exorcized by forgetfulness ...

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.
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Format: Hardcover
"Farbig ist nur das, woran sie sich erinnert, mitten in dieser Dunkelheit, die sie umgibt, deren Kern sie ist, farbige Erinnerungen hat sie in ihrem vom Licht vergessenen Kopf, Erinnerungen von jemand, der sie einmal war. Wer war sie? Wessen Kopf war ihr Kopf? Wem gehörten jetzt diese Erinnerungen?"
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ich genoss den Roman für gut gezeichnete Figuren außerdem fließende und malerische Sprache. Ich hoffe, weitere Bücher des Autors zu lesen. Tatsächlich gab es nur einziges schwierige Kapitel, unter den Letzten über die endlosen juristischen Streit, randvolles mit abstoßenden Rechtsbegriffe.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Using an imaginative structure, written in a dense and memorable way, the book explores various German lives from just before the Nazi years up to German reunification. Insightful and enriching.
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