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The Long Voyage

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  240 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Con El largo viaje, Jorge Semprún rompía un largo silencio: en 1945, tras ser liberado del campo de concentración de Buchenwald, obligado a escoger entre contar o vivir, entre la escritura o la vida, eligió vivir. Sin embargo, durante casi veinte años, fue madurando su experiencia concentracionaria: ¿cómo contar lo inenarrable? Por fin, en 1963, publicó en Francia El largo ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published March 29th 2005 by Overlook Books (first published 1963)
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Jan 08, 2013 knig rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
A pattern formeth. Word association everyone: I say ‘war’. Vonegutt says train

So does Enard.

now Semprun.


Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

No, its a literary device.

What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force?

A train, of course.

How to condense something as big as the Big Bang into a nutshell? If it were Shakespeare, we have:

If it were a war, then start real little: the flutter of an eyelid, the ricochet of a sigh, the gossamer feel of touc
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
I confess I had never heard of Jorge Semprun, a prominent Spanish writer, politician and former government minister, until I picked up The Long Voyage (Le grand voyage), an autobiographical novel based upon his experiences in the Second World War. The voyage itself, a train journey, is the framework around which this astonishing narrative is constructed, as the author moves back through memory to times past and times future, always returning to a times present, a cattle truck packed full of men, ...more
We were not there. One has to bypass Adorno. Acknowledging that, a sensual inventory of the Shoah becomes an imperative. Fatelessness is an example of such, as is this. It is a challenge. Semprun achieves the act, the consummation. Suggestions wilt, cower and abandon. He perseveres.

We do not know. Semprun relates, he apprehends, he fashions the verse from ash and yields a chuckle as gratuity.
Saima Ferraris
5 nights travel in a prisoners packed train heading to a concentration camp. The author jumps back and forth in memory and opens other windows over WW2 which make the reading dynamic and vivid. Touching, impressive and frightening descriptions of the dis-humanity and indifference which can be reached by people.
"Le soir, je demande, vous vous teniez dans cette piece?- oui, dit-Elle, on se tiens dans cette piece- vous habitez ici depuis long temps?-oui, depuis tres long temps-le soir, je lui dema
I've just reread this book in the original version (French), and at the second read it was even more impressive.

I had read ''Il lungo viaggio'' in Italian maybe 20 years ago. In the meantime I pursued my interest for Resistance and Holocaust literature. Still, ''Le grand voyage'' remains one of the best books I've read, also because of the writing style. I'm looking forward to Quel beau dimanche !.

Of course it is a difficult read, of course at times it rips your heart out. But one couldn't expe
I bought this book at the bookstore at Buchenwald. We took a bus from Weimar. There is a village near to the camp and I looked at these houses and could not imagine living in a town called Buchenwald. It was very is so hard to understand the human condition. There is a section when the prisoners go into the village after the Germans had retreated...very tense. The Long Voyage translated by Richard Seaver (he was the publisher of Arcade and a translator) is great book. Semprun was ...more
Ryan Mishap
Fictionalized account of the five days he spent in a boxcar on the way to Buchenwald during WWII. Fascinating, well-rendered account of cruelty and desperation.
Wie das Unbeschreibbare beschreiben? Semprún versucht es mit der Erinnerung an die auf das Minimum reduzierte Bewegung der Deportation ins KZ Buchenwald. Immer wieder springt er zurück in die sich voranwälzende Erinnerung an diese fünf Nächte und so wie sich diese zuspitzen und er sich dem Tod seines Nächsten, mit ihm eingepfercht im Viehwaggon, nähert, so nähert er sich in den weiter vor- und zurückgreifenden Erinnerungen, den Katastrophen, den Gewissheiten um den Tod von Freunden und Kameraden ...more
Kaziwa Salih

The Long Voyage , by Jorge Semprun can be read as an autobiographical narrative,of primarily psychological interest, but with historical, philosophical dimensions that make it particularly interesting text.In traumatic episode and dark setting Manuel a Hispanic – French goes sixteen years back, and tells of a five days train ride to a German concentration camp . At the time he was twenty years old and captured as a member of the French resistance organization. Although he is jammed into the cat
‘How could human beings be so cruel and evil towards other human beings?’ is the question that rises and accompanies the reader throughout the hero’s entire journey in hell. The unbearable atrocities which he witnesses are extremely traumatic. There was so much pain in this book that I have shed tears and pondered whether to proceed with reading it or not. Second World War literature is never an easy read but this particular account of Jorge Semprun was extremely devastating an experience. The s ...more
I have no idea what to rate this as, so 3 stars is a happy-ish middle ground.
As I was reading this, I initially had to force myself to continue. The structure of the narrative confused me, and I had no idea where it was going, but as I decided that I was going to write an essay about this book, I kept going, then started over after 50 pages and read it in one sitting, albeit not in great detail, but rather almost skimming through it to find relevant passages. Now that I had a purpose, I could re
Jori Richardson
About a young man from Spain, caught up in the French Resistance and the Jewish Holocaust of World War II.
This book mainly consisted of dialogue and the narrator's personal thoughts about a variety of subjects.
The story all takes place with him and his companions in a train car on the way to Buchenwald. As the journey takes place, the story frequently leaves the present and takes us back to various memories and recollections leading up to this voyage.
I didn't like the way in which the author wro
Anja Radjenovic
I have read this book in my mother tongue (Slovene) and must say that it is one of the best books written about the WW2 (all credits to the translator as well). The author really presents the things as they are, names the things how they deserve to be named, without any reservations.These atrocities and human suffering should never be forgotten.
Gasping for breath in a cattle truck occupied by 119 other men, a young Spaniard captured fighting with the French Resistance counts off the days and nights as the train rolls slowly but inexorably toward Buchenwald. On the five seemingly endless days of the journey, he has conversations that send him into daydreams about his childhood or set him fighting Resistance battles over again. He describes the temporary holding prison where the names of distant concentration camps are spoken of in whisp ...more
Jennifer Sarha
Fascinating and enjoyable - a non-linear narrative which nevertheless manages to be perfectly coherent and comprehensible.
Ce livre est tout simplement magnifique. Subtile, tragique, réel. Il parle d'une face de la guerre dont on parle peu, en tous cas peu sur ce ton. Aussi tragique soit-il, il ne manque pas de dérision, d'humour.
Roberto Cacho
Me ha parecido el libro más interesante de Semprún de los tres que he leido. Se trata de un relato autobiográfico. La trama central narra el viaje de varios días en tren desde Francia hasta el campo de concentración de Buchenwald. Alrededor de esta narración, como es característico de las novelas de Semprún, va intercalando recuerdos que le van sugiriendo la narración central. Altamente recomendable.
In my opinion it's a very depressing book.

Szinte depressziós lettem ettől a könyvtől. Nagyon nyomasztó volt, de nem bánom, hogy elolvastam.
Impactante. Aunque nos lo hayan contado una y otra vez, es terrible pensar que lo que cuenta lo ha vivido.
Jaime Jones
Read the french version also. Difficult, important and interesting.
Angela Wang
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Mar 17, 2015
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Jorge Semprún Maura was a Spanish writer and politician who lived in France most of his life and wrote primarily in French. From 1953 to 1962, during the era of Francisco Franco, Semprún lived clandestinely in Spain working as an organizer for the exiled Communist Party of Spain, but was expelled from the party in 1964. After the death of Franco and change to a democratic government, he served as ...more
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“I'm in prison because I'm a free man, because I found it necessary to excersise my freedom, because I acccepted this necessity.” 3 likes
“Il y a cet entassement des corps dans le wagon cette lancinante douleur dans le genou droit. Les jours les nuits. Je fais un effort et j'essaye de compter les jours de compter les nuits. Ca m'aidera peut-être à y voir clair. Quatre jours cinq nuits. Mais j'ai dû mal compter ou alors il y a des jours qui se sont changés en nuits. J'ai des nuits en trop des nuits à revendre.” 2 likes
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