A Novel

Book - 2008
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In "one of the most important German novels of recent years,"* a man, a town, and a country wrestle with fifty years of displacement and political upheaval

Provincial Guldenberg is still reeling from World War II when a flood of German refugees arrives from the east, Bernhard Haber's family among them. Life is hard enough--Bernhard's father has lost an arm and his carpenter's income. But added to this injury comes an accumulation of insults, as the upright town turns hostile toward the newcomers. After a string of mysterious losses--from the killing of the boy's dog to the unexplained death of his father--Bernhard is set on extracting revenge.

Rich with psychological insight, Christoph Hein's acclaimed novel tells Bernhard's story across nearly fifty years, chronicling his remarkable rise from victimized outsider to Guldenberg's most prominent burgher. What began as a geographic dislocation evolves into a personal quest: the thirst for vengeance yields to the deeper need for a home and settling down proves more important than settling grudges. As the socialist state gives way to reunification and the capitalism ofthe 1990s, Hein's masterful, multivoiced narration charts the transformation not just of one man but of an entire nation struggling to leave history behind and claim a home.

--* The Times Literary Supplement (London)
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2008
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780805077681
Branch Call Number: F HEI
Additional Contributors: Boehm, Philip


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Aug 01, 2012

Hein has absolutely nothing good to say about socialist East Germany.

Sep 05, 2010

Once you get past the uninspiring title and cover design - the book is terrific. On the IMPAC Dublin 2010 short list.

Set in Germany from post WWII to after the wall falls. Story is told from the point-of-view of 5 individuals that all have known the main enigmatic character at various stages of his life. Great writing!


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