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Book Cover for: Kairos, Jenny Erpenbeck

Kairos

Jenny Erpenbeck

Critic Reviews

Great

Based on 24 reviews on

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Nominee:National Book Award -Translation (2023)

An epic storyteller with the most powerful voice in contemporary German literature, Jenny Erpenbeck has created an unforgettably compelling masterpiece with Kairos. The story of a romance begun in East Berlin at the end of the 1980s: the passionate yet difficult long-running affair of Katharina and Hans hits the rocks as a whole world--the socialist GDR--melts away. As the Times Literary Supplement writes: "The weight of history, the particular experiences of East and West, and the ways in which cultural and subjective memory shape individual identity has always been present in Erpenbeck's work. She knows that no one is all bad, no state all rotten, and she masterfully captures the existential bewilderment of his period between states and ideologies."

In the opinion of her superbly gifted translator Michael Hofmann, Kairos is the great post-Unification novel.

Book Details

  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publish Date: May 14th, 2024
  • Pages: 304
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.00in - 5.40in - 0.80in - 0.65lb
  • EAN: 9780811238533
  • Categories: World Literature - Germany - 21st CenturyLiteraryWomen

About the Author

Erpenbeck, Jenny: - Jenny Erpenbeck was born in East Berlin in 1967. New Directions publishes her books The Old Child & Other Stories, The Book of Words, and Visitation, which NPR called "a story of the century as seen by the objects we've known and lost along the way."
Hofmann, Michael: - The award-winning translator Michael Hofmann has also translated works by Jenny Erpenbeck, Gert Hofmann, Franz Kafka, Heinrich von Kleist, and Joseph Roth for New Directions.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

One of Germany's finest contemporary writers.--Claire Messud "The New York Times"
The most prominent and serious German novelist of her generation.--James Wood "The New Yorker"
Erpenbeck is among the most sophisticated and powerful novelists we have. Clinging to the undercarriage of her sentences, like fugitives, are intimations of Germany's politics, history and cultural memory. It's no surprise that she is already bruited as a future Nobelist...I don't generally read the books I review twice, but this one I did.--Dwight Garner "The New York Times"
Erpenbeck presents the intimate and the momentous with equal emphasis, so that personal and historical time run on nearly parallel tracks, until they have no choice but to converge.--Robert Rubsam "The Washington Post"
In Erpenbeck, Germany has a rare national writer whose portrayals of a ruptured country and century are a reminder that novelists can treat history in ways that neither historians nor politicians ever could, cutting through dogma, fracturing time, preserving rubble.--Gal Beckerman "The Atlantic"
A novel that pushes deep into the evanescent gap between public and private lives.--Bethanne Patrick "Los Angeles Times"
Erpenbeck has an unsurpassed gift for showing how our ideas, passions and choices are shaped--and reshaped--by passing time and the ceaseless transformations of history.--Lily Meyer "NPR"
Ms. Erpenbeck has proved time and time again that she is a fearless, astute examiner of a country's soul.-- "Economist"
The weight of history, the particular experiences of East and West, and the ways in which cultural and subjective memory shape individual identity has always been present in Erpenbeck's work. She knows that no one is all bad, no state all rotten, and she masterfully captures the existential bewilderment of this period between states and ideologies.--Anna Katharina Schaffner "Times Literary Supplement"
One of the bleakest and most beautiful novels I have ever read... Erpenbeck never reaches for the stock phrase or the known response...[her] rigorous and uncompromising imagination is invigorating all the way to the final page.--Natasha Walter "The Guardian"
Erpenbeck is adept at exploring big subjects via the intimate relationships between people... [Kairos is] a clear-eyed book, morally neutral and the more interesting for it.--The New Republic "Rumaan Alam"