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Gehen, ging, gegangen

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  3,076 ratings  ·  531 reviews
Entdeckungsreise zu einer Welt, die zum Schweigen verurteilt, aber mitten unter uns ist

Wie erträgt man das Vergehen der Zeit, wenn man zur Untätigkeit gezwungen ist? Wie geht man um mit dem Verlust derer, die man geliebt hat? Wer trägt das Erbe weiter? Richard, emeritierter Professor, kommt durch die zufällige Begegnung mit den Asylsuchenden auf dem Oranienplatz auf die Id
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Albrecht Knaus Verlag
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Carol E. I'm sad that you stopped reading. It does start a little slowly, but it gets better, and I ended up loving this book. It's deep, thought-provoking,…moreI'm sad that you stopped reading. It does start a little slowly, but it gets better, and I ended up loving this book. It's deep, thought-provoking, and very timely. Give it another chance?(less)
Booklovinglady I know there is a Dutch translation available; it was published earlier this year. Maybe an English translation will follow soon.

Community Reviews

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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,076 ratings  ·  531 reviews

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Where can a person go when he doesn't know where to go?

This book, about the current refugee crisis in Europe (specifically, Germany) asks this question and others - important ones, about what constitutes a border, about what separates us as human beings, about who takes care of whom and whose problem is it anyway? All great questions, and a big part of the reason why I wanted to read this book by Jenny Erpenbeck who is described as one of Germany's most important writers.

She obviously writes w
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read all of Erpenbeck's previous novels and novellas but I was unprepared for just what a raw and powerful human story this one is, a book which is always vital and engaging and gains power and weight towards the end. I don't think I can write a review that does it justice, so these are just a few initial impressions.

Erpenbeck uses her central character Richard, a widowed retired professor of classics from East Berlin, to explore the lives and stories of a group of desperate asylum seeker
Roger Brunyate
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Novel Writing versus Reportage

I hope Jenny Erpenbeck returns soon to writing novels; this one seems something else. Her Visitation is a poetic masterpiece; The End of Days tells one woman's life over the span of the twentieth century in terms of the many ways it might have ended, but didn't; the earlier Book of Words looks at a totalitarian regime through the eyes of a torturer's child. All are politically engaged. All tackle major issues of our times. But all are also novels. Admittedly,
Adam Dalva
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very strong work by Erpenbeck, but I didn't like it quite as much as her extraordinary THE END OF DAYS. The set-up here is excellent - a recently retired professor, Richard, is aimless. He can't go into his nearby lake because there is a dead body somewhere beneath the surface, his wife has died, and he still has never quite adjusted to East Berlin after the wall was brought down and capitalism has arrived. He befriends (by a series of well-done coincidences) a group of migrants seeking asylum i ...more

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
(Martin Luther King)

Words have been used to scare people into pulling up the drawbridge around the bastion of wealthy comfort that is Europe, words like swarm, or horde, or tide; words that de-humanise those suffering squalor and ignominy in Idomeni or Calais, suffering disease, starvation and abuse in Gaziantep or Suruc, suffering trauma, pain, loss.
Words can humanise them again.

Richard is a recently r
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, germany
This book feels like it was written with a translation in mind and to win over prize judges - unfortunately, I have to agree when "Der Spiegel" states that it also illustrates the poor state of political literature in Germany. While Erpenbeck's writing about the plight of the refugees and the dire situation many of them are in is really important and very well done, some of her analysis dwells on a dangerously simplistic viewpoint. But let's start at the beginning.

Erpenbeck tells the story of Ri
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-mbi, 2018
My final job before I took early retirement and stopped working was as the only UK member of a global team. One of my colleagues was a German man about the same age as me. We would often take a few minutes at the end of a business call to discuss the competition we were having (which I won) to see who could retire first. We would also discuss our plans for when we finished our professional careers. Mine were self-centred and based on getting my photography from a hobby to a money-making enterpri ...more
Richard, a widowed, childless and recently retired professor of philology, becomes interested in the plight of a group of migrants living in a tent-city, (pro-immigration) protest camp in Oranienplatz in Berlin. The camp is about to be shut down by the authorities. At loose ends and with a great deal of time on his hands, Richard creates a new project for himself: interviewing, recording the stories, and teaching English to some of the African migrants, some of whom are moved to vacant space in ...more
Erin Glover
A machete to the heart. An ambitious project masterfully completed. This is the kind of novel that could change deeply held convictions on emigration and immigration.

A different kind of refugee story, told from the eyes of a post-war German retiree instead of an immigrant. A fierce comparison of life as the German professor has known it, first on the east side of the Berlin wall then after the fall of the wall, to the lives of the black refugees who first landed in Italy then fled to Germany fo
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delayed on this review - hesitated presumably for various reasons. So - a very sympathetic portrayal of victims of forced migration - from war-torn African countries to Germany from an initial landing in Italy.

The book tackles the politics of decisions made about refugees: their right to assistance, their right to be heard and the responsibilities of the host country towards these people. Erpenbeck tackles head on what she considers to be a major failing on the part of the German Government, bu
Paul Fulcher
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wohin geht ein Mensch, wenn er nicht weiß, wo er hingehen soll?“

Where can a person go when he doesn’t know where to go?

"Citizenship in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent to feudal privilege—an inherited status that greatly enhances one's life chances."
Joseph Carens, The Ethics of Immigration

Book 10/13 from the impressive 2018 Man Booker International longlist and another strong contender.

The two previous Jenny Erpenbeck novels I have read, both translated into English by the
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
È uno di quei libri che non riesci a lasciare nemmeno dopo l'ultima pagina. Affronta il tema dell'emigrazione, che infiamma i dibattiti politici e l'opinione pubblica dell'Europa, ricordandoci che il cosiddetto problema sono esseri umani come noi, e non entità astratte, in fuga da guerre e in ogni caso da condizioni di vita inaccettabili.
Jenny Erpenbeck ha uno stile affascinante. La sua narrazione è incisiva e limpida, con un'attenzione assoluta ai dettagli e la capacità di coinvolgere ed emozio
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-alemanha, 5e
"Para onde vai uma pessoa quando não sabe para onde há de ir?"

Ponho-me a imaginar que um dia também podemos ter de fugir e que ninguém vai querer ajudar-nos.

"Para onde vai uma pessoa quando não sabe para onde há de ir?"

A paz, pela qual a humanidade tem ansiado ao longo dos tempos e que até agora só se tornou realidade em tão poucas regiões do mundo, conduzirá a que se recuse partilhá-la com aqueles que procuram refúgio e a defendê-la de forma tão agressiva que quase se assemelha à guerra?

Jenny Erpenbeck is a method-writer. For her first novella, she enrolled as a (pretend) pupil in secondary school for more than a month to write about the trials of adolescence. For her latest novel “Go, Went, Gone”, which tackles the plight of refugees in present day Germany, she spent an entire year talking to local asylum seekers and accompanying them on various appointments. As a result of this commitment, her writing feels like that of a German Sarah Moss – deeply inquisitive, analytical, pr ...more
Eric Anderson
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it feels like the frequent news reports about refugees and asylum seekers can turn into just another political debate and so much rhetoric that it diminishes the powerful fact that this is about individuals in a desperate situation. Recently I read “Tell Me How It Ends”, Valeria Luiselli’s utterly gripping and heart breaking essay about working with Central American children seeking asylum in America. In Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel “Go Went Gone” this issue is brought powerfully to life in ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Per il professor Richard è arrivato il momento di andare in pensione, cosa che egli accetta con la serenità di un uomo che è sostanzialmente risolto. Non ne è contento, ma non se ne lascia travolgere. Senza più niente da fare, è la curiosità a spingerlo verso la piazza berlinese in cui sono accampate alcune centinaia di migranti per cercare di capire qualcosa di loro? E' la solitudine, la necessità di occupare in qualche modo il suo tempo? E' la sensibilità verso gli altri? E' il vago senso di e ...more
Michael Livingston
The best book I've read this year - a stunning achievement that feels both urgent and timeless. Erpenbeck writes with humanity, clarity and insight about the lives of a community of refugees trying to make something of their lives in Berlin. The narrator is Richard - a recently retired academic who becomes curious about a refugee protest and gradually finds his way into the lives of a small group of men living nearby. The plot is fairly minimal - the inhuman unfolding of bureaucratic responses t ...more
H.A. Leuschel
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Richard ist ein vor Kurzem pensionierter Professor in Altphilologie und weiss nicht recht, wie er mit der vielen Freizeit umgehen soll. Er entschliesst sich eines Tages spontan, täglich Flüchtlinge im nahegelegenen Flüchtlingsheim zu treffen und interviewen. Schnell wird ihm klar, dass er zwar fehlerfrei klassische Texte zitieren kann, aber jedoch erstaunlich wenig über Afrika und seine vielen tragischen Konflikte Bescheid weiß.

Was am Anfang als ganz lockere Unterhaltung anfängt, entwickelt sic
With this book Jenny Erpenbeck secures a place on my list of favorite authors. This is the third book of hers that I have read and I have loved them all. Her prose is exquisite (a tribute to her translator for this) and the way she puts her stories together is impressive. Each book as been structured differently but the prose in each was equally impressive.

Richard, a recently retired professor, carries this novel. He is the consistent character. We meet Richard soon after he has retired (seems a
Justin Evans
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Two thirds of this is really solid, but, particularly towards the end, it more or less became a (totally morally justifiable) attack on a specific (and very bad) fact about the world, i.e., the shoddy way we treat refugees. It's very interesting before that, largely because Erpenbeck has an ex-Eastern-German as her focal point, and his encounters with north African refugees. The combination works well because that makes the book one about homelessness and what it does to someone to have their ho ...more
Sidharth Vardhan

"Or have the people living here under untroubled circumstances and at so great a distance from the wars of others been afflicted with a poverty of experience, a sort of emotional anemia? Must living in peace — so fervently wished for throughout human history and yet enjoyed in only a few parts of the world — inevitably result in refusing to share it with those seeking refuge, defending it instead so aggressively that it almost looks like war?"

"He sticks his fork in the amply filled salad bowl, t
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Finished: 09.12.2018
Genre: fiction
Rating: A+++++++
Reading does not stop when you lay down the book.
It leaves a weight upon our waking thoughts.
Finalist Man Booker International Award 2018 should have won, here's why

My Thoughts

Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gehen, ging, gegangen (published in English as Go, Went, Gone) by Jenny Erpenbeck is longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, and was shortlisted for the German Book Prize in 2015.

Richard seems to have fallen out of time. He is a windower and a retired university professor, and even a quarter century after the reunification of Germany he still has not fully arrived in the new federal republic. He lives alone in eastern Berlin in a house by a lake in which a person has drowned – somethi
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations
I thought Visitation and The End of Days were both brilliant works, but the magic was missing for me in this book. Even though the refugee crisis is such an important topic today, I felt very detached from the story. I think introducing us to a few of the refugees and giving us more of their story may have been more interesting than briefly introducing us to many of them.

Maybe it's the comparison to her earlier books that affected my opinion , but I really missed the originality and the beautifu
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mi ha spinta alla lettura in lingua originale la curiosità verso lo stile di questa scrittrice. Per quanto buone possano essere le traduzioni, ci sono sempre elementi che si perdono, come il suono, la musicalità dello stile, le sfumature di parole scelte con grande accuratezza, gli eventuali tic verbali. Sono rimasta affascinata dalla prosa essenziale, limpida, che alterna flussi di coscienza a dialoghi, narrazioni dettagliate a osservazioni sulla bellezza della natura e sul tempo che scorre. Lo ...more
Maddie C.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-translation
Go, Went, Gone is a timely read that addresses the current (and ongoing) refugee crisis that’s become more and more prevalent in Europe. Through the lenses and experiences of a retired professor from Berlin, Richard, we are introduced to a number of refugees who have been trying to get asylum in Germany for the past couple of years. Retired, a widowed and feeling the loneliness of getting old creeping up on him, Richard’s apathy at the beginning of the book is challenged after he witnesses three ...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, other-lit
A social realist novel telling a story that needs to be told in today’s refugee overwhelmed Europe. Richard, the protagonist, is a widow and retired German professor, ends up involved with the lives of a bunch of asylum seekers from Africa. The encounters and situations are endearing (if one dares use such a word) in revealing the intricacies of human suffering and the challenges in dealing with regulations. The novel shows us the paths these asylum seekers have taken to come to Europe and seek ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely superb novel set in Berlin, in which a recently retired and widowed university professor in Berlin befriends several African refugees, who were forcibly expelled from Libya, migrated from Italy to Germany, and seek asylum in a country whose government does not want them. This may be the best novel I'll read this year.
Joy D
In this novel, the author takes a unique approach in highlighting the plight of African refugees fleeing to Europe. Set in Berlin, our protagonist, Richard, a widowed and recently-retired classics professor, attempts to create a new routine. He is not particularly observant but likes order and “doing things the right way.” He is intellectually curious. Twenty-five years later, he is still adjusting to capitalist Germany after having lived in East Germany for many years. After seeing the African ...more
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: places-berlin
Insbesondere die derzeitige Flüchtlingssituation hat die öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit auf dieses Buch gelenkt und unter diesem Aspekt ist es meist besprochen worden. Zu Recht, denn man erfährt viel über die Flüchtlinge in Berlin, ihre Herkunft, die politische Situation in afrikanischen Ländern, über Bürokratie, die Integration verhindert und verzweifelt Geflüchteten unverständlich bleiben muss. Ein Roman also der ein sehr aktuelles Thema beleuchtet.

Aber der Roman ist weit mehr: Im Mittelpunkt steh
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  • Der fliegende Berg
  • Das Muschelessen
  • Nachts ist es leise in Teheran
  • Kruso
  • Alles umsonst
  • City of Angels or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud
  • Fallensteller
  • The Hothouse
  • Die Erfindung des Lebens
  • Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft
  • This House Is Mine
  • Diary of a Man in Despair
  • Am Fluß
  • Wir haben Raketen geangelt
  • Cabo de Gata
  • Die Welt voran
  • On a Day Like This
  • Alle Toten fliegen hoch: Amerika
Jenny Erpenbeck (born 12 March 1967 in East Berlin) is a German director and writer.

Jenny Erpenbeck is the daughter of the physicist, philosopher and writer John Erpenbeck and the Arabic translator Doris Kilias. Her grandparents are the authors Fritz Erpenbeck and Hedda Zinner. In Berlin she attended an Advanced High School, where she graduated in 1985. She then completed a two-year apprenticeship
“Wie oft wohl muss einer das, was er weiß, noch einmal lernen, wieder und wieder entdecken, wie viele Verkleidungen abreißen, bis er Dinge wirklich versteht bis auf die Knochen? Reicht überhaupt eine Lebenszeit dafür aus?” 4 likes
“Sich vom Wünschen zu verabschieden, ist im Alter wahrscheinlich das, was man am schwersten lernt.” 2 likes
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