Go, Went, Gone

Go, Went, Gone

Book - 2017
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The novel tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns to compassion and an inner transformation, as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes.
Publisher: New York : New Directions Publishing Corporation, [2017]
ISBN: 9780811225946
Characteristics: 286 pages ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Bernofsky, Susan


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SPL_Melanie Aug 15, 2018

This book takes on very timely themes of migration, our sense of identity, belonging, and entitlement, and the responsibility of us all to recognize our common humanity. Erpenbeck writes with intensity and with moral complexity; while it's a timely topic with political currency, this story is a story, not a screed. It's not a political pamphlet at all, rather, a deep and compassionate exploration of people and relationships, and the human connection we owe to one another. It was a thought-provoking and important read.

This book was just nominated for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize 2018.

Dec 09, 2017

Without a doubt makes my Top 10 list for 2017. The blurb above is completely accurate. Readers on other websites (The Guardian, for ex) have been talking about this book for months. Susan Bernofsky is the translator and at times the English was so fluid I forgot it was Berlin. Many interesting strands: our narrator is from the GDR and being in the West carries a lot of weight; how he navigates bureaucracy. He opens himself to these much maligned desperate people and he is changed. I adore the ending.


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