Kris McCracken's Reviews > Visitation

Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck
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Jul 10, 11

Read from June 04 to 14, 2011

I feel a little cruel to this book. Eking out snippets and snatches of reading at a time does not really do justice to a novel that seeks to engage with the epic trajectory of Germany’s troubling twentieth-century

The central ‘character’ of this novel is actually a place. A majestic house and its grounds by a lake in Brandenburg (once upon a time best buddy of Prussia, and then for a spell part of the German Democratic Republic) is witness to a succession of occupants that displace each other through the political turmoil of the twentieth century.

Like Erpenbeck’s other work, nothing is ever straightforward. The story does not progress through momentous occasions, and there are no grand scenes that progress the action. Indeed, we experience change only in shades, shadows or echoes.

As such, it is probably not the best book to be reading in scraps of time. I think that it would resinate far more if you were able to shut yourself off in a quiet room and immerse yourself.

Recommended for those without small children (or those with small children plus a nanny and sound-proofing).
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